Sunday, September 24, 2006

Science of Cinema

So unofficially my wife and I had a mini-French film festival yesterday.

First we started out by going to see Michel Gondry's Science of Sleep.

I loved Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, and thought that Michel's DVD was possibly the strongest of the three original Director's Label Series, so I had high hopes for this movie.

And, while it didn't quite match Eternal Sunshine, I still thought it was a wonderful film. Michel's able to catch what it feels like to use your imagination and dream, and the entire film hinges on his ability to do so. In the end, it’s a visual treat, even if sympathizing with the characters remains a little elusive.

After that, we went home, and my wife cooked us a great corn chowder and sausage dinner, which we enjoyed with some nice white wine. While the meal itself wasn't exactly French (the mustard was though!), and even though the wine was a Washington wine, we had nice French tunes playing which helped us carry through to our second French film: Godard's Bande à part ("Band of Outsiders").

Going into the film, I basically only new three things about it:

1) My favorite scene in Hal Hartley's Simple Men is a homage to the dancing scene pictured above.

2) In the movie, the Dreamers the three main characters recreate the scene, in Band of Outsiders, where the three main characters race through the Louvre.

3) Tarantino's Band A Part production company is a play on the French title.

So, it was very interesting to me to watch the bonus features that explained how many influences Godard himself drew upon to create the film. Not a single scene of Bande à part seems to go by which doesn't draw upon previous sources, ranging from pop culture to literature to film. Just the fact that a film, which has obviously influenced so many other creators, is -itself- a byproduct of its director paying homage to art and entertainment that came before it just proves what an interesting dialogue carries through art and culture.

Even if the film itself wasn't interesting, I would have been able to enjoy it for just that aspect. Luckily, it was enjoyable on its own merit.

Science of Sleep
Bande à part

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