Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Vivement Dimanche! (Finally Sunday)

The weather's crazy here right now. Bleh, it's rainy and I went to my sailing club in hope of a sail this morning and the water had been closed due to strong wind and generally rubbish whether. Damn. Anyhow! While I'm still procrastinating because math revision have nothing to do, I thought I'd write a bit about Francois Truffaut's final film Vivement Dimanche (1983)

I watched this film yesterday and it was a bit of a step forward. Apart from the Monsieur Hulot film Mon Oncle (1958) this was the first full on subtitled film that we'd ever watched. It seems we've come to a point where we can all deal with the fast-paced subtitles and things like that. Fortunately, my parents ils adorent le cinéma français so we are slightly in abundance of awesome movies to watch.

My dad bought my mum the Francois Truffaut box set for christmas and when we decided to watch a French film as a family this is what we went for (springing Louis Malle on the 10 year old seemed a bit harsh.) My awesomespice sister who loves detective movies (her favourite thing evah is the 60s Miss Marple films) chose the film with the creepy plot about a man who is murdered while shooting pidgeons and then this man is accused so he and his secretary have to run around nice and Marseilles solving the case. This leads them to all sorts of places including a brothel, a nightclub and a suspicious looking movie theatre.

This film was made in 1983 an it stars Fanny Ardent and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Though made in the early eighties, it was filmed in black and white which certainly adds to the film noir chic feel of the movie. It is pretty aesthetically pleasing. They've decked out leading lady Fanny Ardent a la Ingrid Bergman in Notorious.

There's a great scene in which the two leads look out onto their town and see all the little lights flickering on and off and it's just a peaceful and inspiring moment.

Though it is a thriller, there is an element of this movie that isn't entirely serious. It's the kind of off-hand deadpan humour that you simply couldn't get in an American or English movie - except perhaps Alfred Hitchcock of whom Truffaut was a lifelong fan. I've never seen a Truffaut movie before, I've read sections of his book about Hitchcock but this was the first of his films I've ever seen. I adored this. It was right up my street. I loved how it featured a strong woman who was pretty much devoid of stereotypes. I said to my mum about fifteen minutes in "In most american movies this woman would have already been stereotyped to death." He handled everything beautifully from the actors performances - all perfectly realistic and natural - to the wonderful shots he uses. His direction isn't showy and flamboyant, it's always there and it threads the film together seamlessly. I have to admit it's my favourite type of direction.

Francois Truffaut with his two leads on set. Jean Louis Trintignant seems engrossed in a crossword lol.

The performances were great. I particularly loved Fanny Ardent and her no-nonsense approach to the part. She always was one step ahead in the way she chose to play the role. Meanwhile you could see from the beginning that she had feelings for him. I particularly loved the bit at the beginning where a detective said "He couldn't have committed suicide - his brother was a priest!" and she just goes "That means nothing." and then another time she says "Why is it that your boss can fire you but you can't fire your boss?"

Jean-Louis Trintignant was also very good - only in a french movie could an ageing man be put into a stylish mainstream film as the main love intrest! It's not really an easy part but he did well with it and it didn't seem whiny or nasty. He certainly as to deal with lots of confusing plot twists!

Also, Marlene Dietrich lookalike anyone???

P.S. I never trust lawyers.



silverscreenings said...

I've not seen many of Truffaut's movies. Thanks for the review!

Meredith Sledge said...

These stills are so great!! I guess I'll have to go watch some movies!

Martin Turnbull (the Garden of Allah novels) said...

Quite frankly, any movie whose poster features a women wielding a model of the Eiffel Tower qualifies as a "must see movie"...!

Lasso The Movies said...

This movie looks great. I can't wait to see it. Thanks so much for your insights as well as your great pictures.

Fabrice said...

It's the last Truffaut movie, he died in 1984. He was in love with Fanny Ardant and they had a daughter in 1983.
Funny, Caroline Sihol (the Dietrich style) was Marlene Dietrich 22 years later, in 2005 in "La vie en rose" (La Mome).
Beautiful blog !

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