Les Caribiniers

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Godard's Les Caribiniers is a film that is very explicit about pointing out the pointlessness of war. The film is almost cartoonish in the way it unfolds. It revolves around two men who are 'drafted' into a war involving their country as a "favor to the king." Michelangelo and Ulysses jump to the chance of fighting for their king, whom obviously takes such good care of them. They live in an extremely deserted area in a house that looks as if it were made with a 'Lincoln Logs' set. The soldiers who come to recruit them promise the two geniuses of Maseratis, Rolls Royces, women, priceless works of art, power, stabbing guys in the back, etc. Of course, they are on board. Ironically enough, the two women in their lives are just as eager for them to go as they are. Most women would be afraid for their men to go put their lives on the line. However, Venus and Cleopatra literally kick them out of the house to go so they can get their share of the treasure upon their courageous return.

From this point on, the cartoon only gets more amusing with each scene.  They take the fact that they can operate without consequence to heart. They break into homes and steal from the people living there, they force women to undress in front of them, and they even steal a car and kidnap the woman riding inside of it. The worst, however, is their use of extreme violence. Granted that they are 'soldiers' doing nothing more than following orders, the extent to which they take the violence is very excessive. They march people in secluded areas for their execution. Michelangelo is usually not happy with the result as he continues shooting the already slain victims. 

Godard's use of all this over-the-top activities only makes his mockery of war more effective. With the two women constantly prancing and spinning around and Michelangelo running around a movie theatre so that he may get a better angel to see the woman undressing on screen, it makes everything else that is happening around them even more absurd. The postcard sequence is a vivid example of this. It is not only the longest running sequence in the film, but it is also the most absurd. When the men return from war without expensive dresses and makeup, the women are extremely angry with them. That is until they see all of the 'deeds' of the property that were brought back to them. Michelangelo and Ulysses bring back hundreds of postcards thinking that they are deeds for all of the property that are shown on them. They bring back tons of postcards of cars and ancient monuments thinking that they will own all of these things once the war is won. However, it is the gullibility that is ultimately their demise. When they are informed that they actually lost the war, they are killed for committing war crimes against the new state. Tough break indeed. 

Vivre Sa Vie

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Godard's Vivre Sa Vie is a film that has a very unique style to it. The film is shot in a very unusual way when compared to other films of the same genre. During a few of the dialogue scenes, the camera is facing the back of the character that is speaking. This gives the audience a feeling that we are eavesdropping on the conversation as it is taking place. Furthermore, much of the camera movement throughout the film is very static. The camera focuses on only one person during other dialogue scenes. Instead of seeing what is going on around that character or even gaging the response of the person being spoken with, the audience only sees one person speaking. This technique is effective because it gives us a sense that we are the people being spoken to. During the 'new wave trademark' tracking shots, the camera is also focused on one person; usually from the front and also from the side at times. Again, it forces us to focus on that specific character instead of getting caught up in what is taking place around them. 

The narrative is also as peculiar as the way it was shot. The film is broken up into different sections or 'scenes' - all with different titles for each individual section of the film. Also, the dialogue of the film alludes to the fact that there are things that take place in between sections that is not shown on camera. This also makes the film very effective for a variety of reasons. The main reason being that it allows the audience to recreate the action in our own heads. The most effective films are the ones that play on the emotions of the people that are watching them. If you are watching a film and you leave without a very strong opinion or feeling about it then the film was obviously ineffective in really reaching you. However, this film has the ability to allow the audience to create important parts of the narrative on their own. Ultimately, it makes the film more interesting as well. This particular style the film possess gives it a very unique look and feel to it. 

A Woman is a Woman

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From the opening credit sequence, the film is very effective with keeping the audience's attention. However, the way the film succeeds in doing so is very peculiar. The film is centered on Angela, a woman has a very strange way about her. From the beginning of the film, Godard makes it very clear that he intends to make her stand out as much as she can. Her wardrobe in the film definitely coincides with what Godard had intended for Angela's character. She is often wearing red throughout the film. Her wearing red often makes her stand out against the bland scenery surrounding her. Even during her 'performance,' she was wearing her usual flamboyant getup for it. However, the spotlight used a few different camera filters to project a different light on her face; again, in order to make her stand out. 

The score of the film also helps to emphasize all of this as well. Often times during the film, the music will drop out and she will be speaking. Sometimes there will be no music at all and the surrounding characters in the film all gawk at her like a bunch of horny schoolchildren. Her personality is also very comparable to the clothes she wears. It seems as if she thinks that her life is a feature length film and she is the leading lady. She often goes off on these very odd monologues during which she does not make much sense most of the time. She is extremely eccentric to the point of almost being very childish. Especially during one scene where her and her lover, Emile are having a fight in bed. Instead of talking it out, they choose to not speak to each other. Not only do they not speak to each other, they finish their fight by finding words on the covers of her books to take jabs at each other. Clever. At least she is true to the woman she portrays, she ends the film by saying "not damn me, but a dame, me. 

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
, directed by Jacques Demy and released in 1964, is a new wave musical that is also part of a trilogy. This film sets between the Young Girls of Rochefort and Lola; both of which were also directed by Demy. Stylistically, the film is extremely vivid; almost to the point of distraction. Every scene throughout the film is filled with extremely vivid colors. Each set design is filled with very bright red, green, and blue colors on the walls. Each character complements the vivid scenery as well. The women in the film are dressed in very bright dresses with bright makeup and lipstick. However, their dress colors often go against the color scheme of the set which only enhances an already vivid film.

As a musical, the film moves in a very peculiar way. There is absolutely no regular dialogue spoken in the entire film. Every word of every line that each character has is sung rather than spoken. Granted that the film is obviously a musical, there are other musicals that do incorporate even a little spoken dialogue between characters.

However, the narrative does stand up against the odd formula the film follows. This is only because the ending of the film does not necessarily the eerie jubilant feeling the film has even during the 'depressing' moments. In the final scene of the film, Guy is asked by his former love if he wants to meet his daughter that he has with her, he simply declined. Roll Credits.

Shoot the Piano Player

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Shoot the Piano Player by Fran├žois Truffaut is a film that is filled with both noir and new wave qualities. Staying true to the new wave with the typical elements such as extremely long tracking shots, harsh cutting and out-of-context scenes, Tirez Sur Le Pianiste uses noir characteristics such as low-key lighting, shadows, and a character narrating during a scene. The film is also extremely fast paced. The plot of the film is extremely fast moving with very little throwaway action and dialogue.

On the more entertainment side of things, this film is more humorous than any of the other films I have seen this semester. The two thugs in particular are especially entertaining. Their conversations with the other characters in the film all center on women in short skirts, how they rob other people, and how to deal with relationships with the opposite sex. More specifically, when it comes to women, they “lay ‘em and leave ‘em.” One of the thugs even shared an experience he had when he tried on his sister’s panties. One other scene that sticks out is the fight scene between Charlie and his boss from the restaurant. It is a cross between a scene from the Three Stooges and a second-grade-schoolyard-slap-fight that ultimately leads to the boss getting stabbed in the back, literally. Go figure.

My Night At Maud's

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This film by Eric Rohmer is the third film in the series entitled, “Six Moral Tales.” It stays very true to its new wave roots. My Night is filled with numerous extremely long tracking shots. The dialogue sequences in the film are also very interesting. In most of the dialogue scenes, when one of the character’s would be speaking, the camera is centered on someone who reacting to what’s being said. Particularly, the camera often centered on Vidal and his extremely drunken actions while the other two were conversing.

Along with the camera work of the dialogue sequences, the dialogue itself was equally interesting. At the very least, it could hold someone’s attention long enough to understand what is going on. But I digress; the content of the film is centered on issues such as Christianity, Protestantism, sex, sex, and more sex. Not to mention that our choirboy is quite the playboy. A single man nowadays should envy him. He gets to not only indulge his dark, mysterious, and sinful side but he also gets to have his innocent, blonde church girl too. Not only that, but he ends up marrying the blonde. Well-done sir.

Last Year At Marienbad

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Last Year at Marienbad
 is a very peculiar film that vividly displays all of the qualities of classic new wave cinema. The film is filled with extremely long tracking shots that follow the characters walk through different rooms and interrupt and pick up on conversations being held with the background characters. It also uses a very overpowering organ to score the film. During these long shots that have the narrator describing the shot, the organ music gives the scene a very eerie and ominous tone. 

The film is also very reminiscent to Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour which preceded this film. Similar to its precedent, Last Year contains a very similar plot formula: guy-chases-girl-entire-film-girl-doesn't-want-guy-but-guy-keeps-chasing-her-anyway. The film also ends with a very ambiguous ending just like the other film. However, this film is much more experimental. The plot is not linear at all. The audience is forced with having to decipher what is reality and what is a dream throughout the film. The story cross-cuts between the present time and the action that took place a year prior. However, with the continuous cross-cutting and story switches, the film is extremely hard to follow; especially up to its extremely abrupt and ambiguous ending.