HomeTechnologyNouvelle Vague, novel: “I don’t make films, I make cinema”

Nouvelle Vague, novel: “I don’t make films, I make cinema”

“ There is no new wave, there is only the sea. ” On the one hand, the glorious precedents: Jean Renoir, Jacques Tati, Robert Bresson, Jean Cocteau, Abel Gance, Max Ophuls , Jacques Becker, Jean Vigo, Rossellini…

On the other, the pet peeves, “ dad’s cinema ”: René Clément, Marc Allégret, Marcel Carné, Claude Autant-Lara, René Clair, Julien Duvivier, Christian Jaque, and even Henri-Georges Clouzot… bande des Cahiers replays the surrealist revolution, dividing cinema into two like Moses: the creators and the civil servants. Jean Delannoy is Anatole France.

What’s the problem? The conventions, the lack of audacity, of ideas, the studios, the affected stars, the perpetual adaptations of classics of theater and literature… Not enough cinema, meditation on its substance, its specificities, its own language . In response, precepts: improvisation, singular actors, natural settings, inventive editing, a reduced budget, “ very little action, rules like life, no rules ”.

In reality, the only thing that binds this club of cinema 5s is a transition from journalism to directing. Each more or less artists, like Baudelaire, and, like the latter, prove that the creatives (here potentially) are the best critics. “ Eruption of the theory ”. Jean-Luc Godard watches 5 films a day, Jacques Rivette the same one 5 times, Rohmer hardly any before the age of 27. Godard is the virtuoso, the philosopher, in perpetual expansion, in search of limits. François Truffaut is the most classic; Éric Rohmer, the big brother, the most singular, the most concentrated. Claude Chabrol, the ambiguous bourgeois, and Jacques Rivette, the most radical and mysterious. Group Secret Blade…

5 boys in the wind

Mysterious, the latter will remain so after reading the work of Patrick Roegiers since he decided to mention it only in passing. Bad tongues will say that he hasn’t read any book on the director to be able to talk about it… It seems that he is too hermetic for Roegiers.

One of Pacôme Thiellement’s favorite filmmakers, Jacques Rivette, for films like Céline and Julie go boating. The others are staged and confounded through their important works: Breathless, which revealed a certain Jean-Paul Belmondo and sublimated the charm of Jean Seberg.

Improvisation, blowing the text while it turns, “ one idea per shot ”, an elliptical writing. Godard wants to know. The mystic Jean Parvulesco interpreted by Jean-Pierre Melville: “What is your greatest ambition in life? Become immortal. And then die… ” “It’s very beautiful”, reacts Sartre, “ I’ve never seen that! adds Aragon. “ A marvel ” for Cocteau.

Godard is not easy to approach. He doesn’t say hello or goodbye. He never knows what he is going to say, words like ideas come to him as he speaks. Very introverted. Looks neglected. Neither attractive nor sympathetic.

– New Wave, novel, by Patrick Roegiers

Stolen kisses from the anti-Godard, François Truffaut, and his “Saturday evening films”: “Godard failed writer, Truffaut failed bookseller. » Dry films à la Rossellini. Rejects both the fantasy of Federico Fellini and the intellectualism of Antonioni. The Right Bank filmmaker. It is also Jean-Pierre Léaud, whose true dimension can only be discovered through the prodigious The mother and the whore of Jean Eustache, and certainly not in the skin of the annoying Antoine Doisnel. The two directors despise each other.

Another anti-intello is Claude Chabrol. His great project: to slay the bourgeois. You never know if it is extremely subtle or if there is nothing. A debonair enjoyer, “filmmaker of sin”, “caustic moralist”. Painter of sad passions, pettiness, lies.

Finally, the important Éric Rohmer and films like Ma nuit chez Maud or the radical Perceval le Gallois: austere, stoic, believer, independent, cultured, consistent worker, royalist, meticulous, responsible, inventive, anti-naturalist, shy, babbling, talkative left, vegetarian, self-produced, entrepreneur, music lover, goes to mass every Sunday, does not plug in an electrical outlet or drive. Freedom and conservatism.

Simplicity in life as in his films, where the verb is action and word movement. “The diction leads to the feeling. » Marivaudage. He does a lot of things himself. Likes small teams, single take.He published a single novel with Gallimard, under the pseudonym of Gilbert Cordier, in 1946, and relied on all his unedited short stories to turn them into masterpieces, such as Conte d’été. Recognized at the age of 50, leaves his furnished room at the Hôtel de Lutèce at 37, after getting married. His mother’s son.

The New Wave, and others

These 5, which cross Paris, are only one side of the work of Patrick Roegiers. The author casts a wide net to talk about a certain French cinema of the second half of the 20th century. It is Agnès Varda who opens the ball, who loves Virginia Woolf and Nathalie Sarraute, followed by the opaque Louis Malle, the painter of little nothings, of the price of existence, Claude Sautet; by the other virtuoso, Alain Resnais.

Around all these filmmakers, the actors, producers, colleagues, technicians who intertwine in the small world of the 7th art à la française: Brigitte Bardot, Godard’s brilliant friend, Raoul Coutard, the reckless actor Jean-Claude Brialy, Sami Frey, Michel Piccoli, the producer Jacques de Beauregard, Bertrand Tavernier, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, André Dussollier, Pierre Arditi, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Fabrice Luchini, Delphine Seyrig, Maurice Ronet the literate alcoholic who quotes from memory excerpts from Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry…

But still Paul Gégauff, the assassinated provocateur, Michel Audiard, renamed by the Cahiers “ Storm in a glass of water ”, Anna Karina, Maurice Pialat, Jacques Dutronc, Jean-Loup Dabadie, Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider, Philippe Sarde, Yves Montand… And even Robert Dalban, Noël-Noël, Noël Roquevert, Alfred Adam…

This “ novel ”, which looks a lot like a skilful montage of scattered documents, as Godard did at the end of his life with another spirit, is valid for the synthesis it represents. No need to be a specialist to already know much of what is exhibited to us, but the anecdotes and all those details that highlight these figures who have mostly disappeared today, give its dimension to the work.

Patrick Roegiers bets everything on the editing and does not bother with the style. Solemn reflections are sent on death, time, cinema… A gratuitous lyricism. Lacks the charm of a subject that does not lack it: nostalgia, romanticism of Paris, of all the characters it portrays. Even their snobbery does not show through. Too much of Truffaut’s lyricism, not enough of Godard, Eustache or Resnais. We learn a rare expression, “combing the giraffe”, which means performing a long, tedious and pointless task.

Film analyzes ultimately border on the anecdotal, and the view of the filmmakers remains on the surface. No penetration, no illumination, but a sure knowledge of his subject. A book for the general public that can be read without displeasure.

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