Saturday, 10 March 2012

Godard'sBreathless and Truffaut's

Released the same year as Godard'sBreathless and Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player, Les Bonnes Femmeseasily lost some attention it deserved. The film follows four Parisian shop girls looking to escape their monotonous daily routine. Each has a distinct personality, thus, each receives a different episode to the film. These episodes and the girls are joined by a central theme. According to Robin Wood, "the theme that unifies the film is the discrepancy between dream and reality, the inability of the girls' environment to provide a means of realising their undefined yearnings" (43). Each girl yearns for a different life; Jane only wishes for a good time, Ginette dreams of being an Italian singer, Rita wishes for social advancement through her bourgeois husband, and Jacqueline awaits an anonymous motorcycle riding lover. The girls' desires continually increase in sensitivity and increase the chances of pain all the way to Jacqueline's desire for true romantic love. French audiences had to dig a little but there was a relatable reality hidden here.

Truffaut's career in film began, similar to that of other popular French New Wave directors, as a critic. His essays were published in many journals and magazines most notably Cahiers du Cinema. Early on he fell in love with US cinema and directors like Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock and began to develop the auteur theory. In a denouncement to French cinema of the day, he set out to create a new type of film in the footsteps of Agnès Varda, Alain Resnais and other similar directors.

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