And here you have post 100:

Back in the late 1980s, Louis Malle was the first French film director I got to know over a span of films and a span of time. He inspired me to get into French film generally, and a few of his pics hold special places in my heart. Now for some mysterious reason, his films had not been available over here on DVD. Who knows why, but the situation has finally been fixed. The
Criterion Collection has just come out with two DVDs: 3 Films by Louis Malle and Elevator to the Gallows.

Watching the films again through older, wiser eyes, and with a fuller context of French film, and film generally was surprising. It’s hard not to see Le Souffle au coeur as a rich kid’s version of Les Quatre cents coups. And as much as Truffaut’s films were revolutionary, there’s a reactionary thread running through these Malle films, as though Louis feels the need to defend his class. In both Lacombe Lucien and Au revoir, les enfants, Malle paints ugly, stupid underclass characters that take the blame for the worst sins of the Vichy era, while the smartly-dressed upper class look on and shrug. Ascenseur pour l’échafaud is worth watching for the score alone, which Miles Davis improvised. But compare this film to À bout de souffle. Where Godard achieves randomness and spontaneity, the Malle film seems contrived. And Jeanne Moreau seems to overact her underacting.

I’m not saying this is bad wine, just a little thinner and more tannic than I remember. And so as not to end on a bitter note, here’s a perfect French film that you probably don’t know: Bob le Flambeur.






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