Bay of Angels (1963)

Directed By: Jacques Demy

Screenplay By: Jacques Demy

Cinematography By: Jean Rabier

Starring: Claude Mann & Jeanne Moreau

Runtime 90 minutes

The second of Demy’s features, Bay of Angels, is a sweaty amusement park ride; only the steadiest of hearts will stay dry. Bay of Angels is sexy fun thrilling, including everything that gambling and romance has to offer.

This movie proves that watching people gamble can be just as exhilarating as the act itself. When big money is on the table one cannot simply look away, one must watch until the(in this case) roulette ball has landed in its home either in celebration or demise for both the characters and viewers.

Jean (Claude Mann) is just the right amount of awkward and calm allowing his luck to spark a relationship with the gambling addict Jackie (Jeanne Moreau). Their relationship reflects all the ups and downs, highs and lows of gambling, and it is done so with style and flair.

Bay of Angels is an experiment in catharsis in winning big money, living the high life and falling in love. This is a classic.

God Bless America

Lola (1961)

Directed By: Jacques Demy

Screenplay By: Jacques Demy

Cinematography By: Raoul Coutard

Starring: Marc Michel & Anouk Aimée

Runtime 90 minutes

Lola is Jacques Demy’s first feature length film and as I continue through his filmography Lola is an impressive start. I had two big takeaways from this film.

The first is that French films have an inherent advantage over America cinema for no other reason than the French language itself. Their language, along with the societal norms that have probably followed the language’s example, allows the French to speak to one another on a level Americans could never truly replicate. They have an ease and an intimacy towards one another. No matter the relations to one another be it friends, acquaintances, even enemies, they speak to each other in a more familiar tone. I believe this to be in the inherent nature of how French is spoken. Even with lovers, Americans could not get at the poetic nature of communication the French enjoy.

The second spectacular nature of this film is due to the film itself, inherent French-ness aside, in the constant duality this film presents. Throughout this film there rest doubles, whether in appearance or in action, plot or conversation, this film is built upon sameness. Lola is all the more impactful because the protagonist Roland lives outside of these dualities. His story is not part of the circle of love that Lola and the young girl Cecile experience, and for that he is destined to leave Paris and find something anew.

Lola is a very good film consisting French poetic resonance, great dialogue, love intrigue, and the search for one’s self. I’m looking forward to the rest of Demy’s catalogue.

God Bless America

Irma Vep (1996)

Directed By: Olivier Assayas

Screenplay By: Olivier Assayas

Cinematography By: Eric Gautier

Starring: Maggie Cheung & Nathalie Richard

Runtime: 99 minutes

This is an interesting French film that deals with the state of world cinema generally and French cinema specifically. It’s about a French production of a remake of an old silent film, and for the remake the director casts a Chinese actress as the star.

Irma Vep is engaging throughout but the last few minutes is where this movie busts a whole through your brain. Of course it wouldn’t have any power if it weren’t for everything that comes before it, but dang the ending is mesmerizing and shows what movies are truly capable of.

Maggie Cheung is super seducing wearing a skin tight latex suit for a good portion of the film. And it doesn’t hurt how everyone in the movie talks about how beautiful she is. The influential power of other people.

This is worth a watch for anyone interested in a movie about filmmaking and movies.

God Bless America

Delicatessen (1991)

Directed By – Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Screenplay By – Gilles Adrien, Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Cinematography By – Darius Khondji

Starring Dominique Pinon, Marie-Laure Dougnac & Jean-Claude Dreyfus

99 min.

This movie was fantastic. Clever, original, and sadistic, my kind of combo. Delicatessen is an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic social circle, where people have become okay (loosely okay) with cannibalism as they are sold human from the deli that resides at the bottom of their housing complex.

Delicatessen is overall just an absorbent amount of creative. Whether it be the plot or shot choices, or the editing decisions, it all comes together to make something extremely unique to watch.

While we live in a time where everything seems to be a carbon copy of each other, Delicatessen offers a world unlike any other and is definitely a must see.

God Bless America

All the Boys Are Called Patrick (1959)

Directed By – Jean-Luc Godard

Screenplay By – Eric Rohmer

Cinematography By – Michel Latouche

Starring Jean-Claude Brialy, Anne Collette & Nicole Berger

21 min.

This fantastic short is what every rom-com should be. Great witty dialogue, a fun plot and great acting (not to mention beautiful actresses to boot).

An early collaboration between two French film powerhouses, Godard and Rohmer make filmmaking look easy with All the Boys Are Called Patrick.

You can catch this on Hulu and I highly recommend you doing so.

God Bless America

For Ever Mozart (1996)

Directed By – Jean-Luc Godard

Screenplay By – Jean-Luc Godard

Cinematography By – Katell Djian, Jean-Pierre Fedrizzi & Christophe Pollock

84 min.

I don’t know what this movie was about. It would try and explain it to you but I would just make myself sound like a fool. If you want a dose of Godard I would recommend anything other than this.

However, I don’t believe this movie was intended for you to watch once and for you to move on so quickly. It has deep and powerful themes woven into a complicated mix of characters and relationships. Because of this For Ever Mozart is a movie I know I will revisit in my later years because it is so fucking dense.

God Bless America

Weekend (1967)

Directed By – Jean-Luc Godard

Screenplay By – Jean-Luc Godard

Cinematography By – Raoul Coutard

Starring Mireille Darc & Jean Yanne

105 min.

So a couple whom are both cheating on one another are taking the weekend to drive to visit the wife’s father in order to kill him (by another means of murder if the poison they have been giving him doesn’t work) so that they can get the inheritance that they will both cross each other for. Yeah…

And while that already seems like a crazy plot, really the whole movie is a meta analysis of what movies are and how they are structured and who/what a character is (like most of his movies). Not to mention a gigantic critique on the bourgeois…a giant, in your face exploration of how petty the bourgeois are.

While the movie is basically a 105 minute mindfuck of “whaa..”, there is an epic traffic jam of all jammed proportions that any cinefile will take pleasure in watching. Even if it’s only to gawk at the amount of balls it must have taken to have horns blaring on the soundtrack for what must be close to ten minutes.

Damn you Godard

God Bless America

Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

Directed By – François Truffaut

Screenplay By – François Truffaut & Marcel Moussy

Cinematography By – Raoul Coutard

Starring Charles Aznavour & Marie Dubois

92 min.

An excellent film. Not much to say besides Truffaut knows how to make a captivating film packed with suspense, love&sex, humor, and sorrow and all in only 92 minutes. The man is truly a master.

God Bless America

L’Atalante (1934)

Directed By – Jean Vigo

Screenplay By – Jean Guinée, Albert Riéra & Jean Vigo

Cinematography By – Jean-Paul Alphen, Louis Berger & Boris Kaufman

Starring Michel Simon, Dita Parlo & Jean Dasté

89 min.

A nice little old French film. Probably not for everybody. Some parts are more interesting than others, but ultimately both entertaining and heartfelt. About a newly wed couple where the groom is the captain of the cargo ship L’atalanta and his new bride lives on the ship with him. What seems like a perfect opportunity to mix both work with a magical honeymoon/married life on a boat provides for sufficient challenges to the newly weds and for an interesting film.

God Bless America

Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)

Directed By – Agnés Varda

Screenplay By – Agnés Varda

Cinematography By – Paul Bonis, Alain Levent & Jean Rabier

Starring Corinne Marchand

90 min.

I had heard about this film for a while and knew it was suppose to be something special but even with those expectations I was enchanted. Cleo from 5 to 7 is creative, original, beautiful, sad, lovely, and so much more. Angés Varda is able to create something that is organic as an artist and formalistic as a filmmaker.

Corinne Marchand is beautiful and heartbreaking and so full of life that she will captivate you completely for the ninety minutes that she is on the screen.

This is a must see for anyone who has a passion for life and a passion for cinema.

God Bless America