Monday, May 17, 2010
Laurent/De Baecque's TWO IN THE WAVE tracks the Truffaut/Godard relationship
mentary TWO IN THE WAVE. Produced and directed by Emmanuel Laurent (below, left) and written and narrated by Antoine De Baecque (below, right), the film tells of the very close relationship between two icons of the French New Wave -- Francois Truffaut (on the poster, at right) and Jean-Luc Godard (poster, left), which went south as the two men grew older.
The 400 Blows was released in the US at the end of 1959; Breathless made its American debut at the beginning of 1961) and have continued with our passion since then, this film will be, I suspect, both provocative and disappointing -- the former because of our interest in and fascination with both figures, the latter because, for all the information provided here, not much of it strikes me as all that new or revealing -- not, at least, if you have kept up with things over the passing years.
Rouch, Bergman, Demy, Varda) will not fail to fascinate and may interest you in seeing some of these works again (younger viewers for the first time). I have no idea which of the two filmmakers our documentarians prefer (or even if they have a preference), but it seemed to me that the warmth of Truffaut and the iciness of Godard come through quite well here. Or maybe it's just that the latter is so... "aloof."
Jean-Pierre Leaud (above): Truffaut's Antonie Doinel and Godard's leading man in several movies. Leaud, now in his mid-60s, clearly felt buffeted by the directors' dispute and seems a bit lost without one of his mentors.
Probably the silliest and certainly the most unnecessary aspect of the documentary is the use of that fine actress Isild Le Besco. I'm such a fan of her work that I could easily be pleased by her reading the proverbial phone book. Here she is given the visual equivalent of that: Without uttering a word, she simply looks through the pages of books, magazine articles and newspaper clippings of what appears to be the very history that we are being treated to. Do the filmmakers want us to see ourselves in Ms Le Besco? Or is she some sort of stand-in for the research work that they have done. Yes or no, so what? Her presence adds some feminine appeal to the film, which, besides the quick snips of the twosome's leading ladies, has almost none (it's all the guys, guys, guys), but still, this is a screwy way to provide it.
Two in the Wave, a Lorber Films release, opens this Wednesday, May 19, for a two-week run at New York City's Film Forum. You can check performance times and dates here.