Two In The Wave (2010)

by | Mar 11, 2011 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Two In The Wave (2010)

Documentary on Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut and the French New Wave
Director: Emmanuel Laurent
Studio: Lorber Films LF-DVD-68
Video: Changes between 16:9, 1.85 & 1.33, color & B&W
Audio: French PCM 2.0
Subtitles: English
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: ****

Anyone even moderately interesting in French New Wave movies will probably find this documentary worth watching at least once. The two young directors changed cinema forever and were leaders of the French New Wave of films which offered an alternative to the rather staid formulaic approach of the established French studios.  The examination of the two directors was written by and is narrated by a man who was editor for both of them when all three worked at the Paris film review publication Cahiers du Cinema.

Both very intense and sometimes combative men worked together on probably the two most famous films of the start of the New Wave – 400 Blows and Breathless. The different backgrounds of the two is interesting. Godard came from an educated and financially well-off situation whereas Truffaut had a struggle as a poor child, and even was in prison twice – the first time for stealing something to pay off the debts of the film society he was president of.  Both filmmakers had a unique relationship with the young actor Jean-Pierre Leaud, who starred at age 15 in 400 Blows and became the semi-autobiographical stand-in for Truffaut in a long series of films.

There are clips from over 30 of their films, and various controversial quotes from both. Both are seen in interview clips from thruout their careers.
I had forgotten that Godard and Truffaut parted company conclusively following the worker and student strikes of May 1968 in Paris. They hurled strong invectives at one another and never spoke again. A device of the documentary is an unidentified woman who is researching the information on the two directors and re-visiting some of the sites, such as the Cinematique Francaise. This invigorating look at the two filmmakers may stimulate fans to view some of their films that have not been seen or re-view some of those which have. I was moved to see 400 Blows again myself.   I recall an architect friend who use to gather together his friends every time Breathless was shown at a local repertory movie outlet (this was before VHS or DVD). That was his favorite movie, of course.

 — John Sunier

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