- Often cited as the first French New Wave film—and Varda the “Grandmother” of the new wave. I’m not sure about that- and not sure it matters—it’s a great film and—the style is unique and abundant- this is a film of two distinct parts, interwoven, one is a sort of neo-realism rural/fishing/working-class town story a little like Visconti’s 1948 La Terra Trema—and the other is a walk/talking pontification- couple/lovers film like Linklater’s Before Sunrise or Sunset films (obviously 40 years prior)
- Varda is 27
- The title credits on wood, then a smooth tracking shot from that wood (a character in the film as it’s part of the blue collar town and a reoccurring set piece) down an alley—really nice
- We glide through houses in the town via windows like Renoir
- Babies crying (neo-realism) and nonprofessional actors
- Clothesline a nice visual motif
- Title of the film is a seaside village/neighborhood – film is a portrait of a town—never patronizing
- The face on face Bergman framing—may actually be from Varda! It’s here and beautiful- done at 34 minutes in and repeats again at 37 minutes (referencing the position of the two principal actors) and then later it layers them in bed. If this is Varda, and not Bergman- it’s a change for me
- Varda clearly has a photographer’s eye. A great shot of the two actors separated by wood, another of them looking at their reflection in a dirty basin—my favorite (and I’m ticked I couldn’t find it for this post) is a gorgeous reverse tracking shot out of the doorway. There’s a woman looking in the house (via open doorway) of a mother crying (framed by another door) at her dying soon. Haunting
- Gorgeous set piece of abandoned ship
- Another great shot through an object on the ground and then we track through the object along the beach
- Dialogue is good, too—a woman from the village says of the two leads “they talk too much to be happy”
- The village has Ford’s community and custom
- Must-See film
[…] La Pointe Courte – Varda […]
This film was also edited by one Alain Resnais, something you forgot to mention.
“The face on face Bergman framing—may actually be from Varda! It’s here and beautiful- done at 34 minutes in and repeats again at 37 minutes (referencing the position of the two principal actors) and then later it layers them in bed. If this is Varda, and not Bergman- it’s a change for me”
@Drake – since you finished a Bergman study this year, did you find an answer to this Varda vs Bergman question?
@Harry- nothing definitive. La Pointe Courte came out six months before Smiles of a Summer Night but the shot are not copies either. I don’t think either Varda or Bergman suffer from the comparison.
I’m currently making my way slowly through Bergman’s filmography so I’ll chime in and say that there is almost something like this in Thirst (1949), but it’s not exactly identical, nor is it his strongest use of this blocking.
@DeclanG- Yes, able to grab that here https://thecinemaarchives.com/2022/01/28/thirst-1949-bergman/