The third and concluding part of our blog, looking into some of the greatest French films ever, once more starts the projector rolling and pulls the curtains apart. So far we have featured some fantastic films that have highlighted the great diversity of French film making and we continue our private screening with The Wages of Fear.
The Wages of Fear
The films of Henri-Georges Clouzot have often been compared to the great Alfred Hitchcock, so much so that these comparisons dragged at Clouzot’s mind as somehow being inferior. The truth was that on his day, Clouzot was possibly even better than Hitchcock, and The Wages of Fear was made on such a day. The story is about a huge South American oil fire that cannot be checked and is out of control. There is only one solution that can possible work and that is to use a dangerous blast of nitroglycerin to halt the rampaging blaze. The tension builds as possible candidates to do the job have to be selected. A gripping movie from start to finish with plenty of action.
Mon Oncle was the first film that director Jacques Tati ever made in color, and is one of his best movies. Although this 1958 movie does meander and is a little difficult to follow it is highly enjoyable as many of the plots episodes are witty and incredibly close to the truth. A gentle film that has many endearing facets and has some fine stand out moments.
Another feel-good movie, with a beloved out of work music teacher taking the lead part. His assignment is at the Fond de l’Etang boarding school which is home to many troubled children. The lovable teacher is at risk from these young rascals every moment, but a bond is formed that is quite endearing. The disciplinarian headmaster revels in punishing the boys for their misdemeanors and friction appears between the music teacher and the headmaster.
Jules and Jim
Based on the successful novel by Henri-Pierre Roche, Francois Truffaut directed his third major film, and it is widely considered as his best ever. The novel is basically an autobiography of two men during the First World War. They come from different worlds, one is French and the other German and even through the trials and tribulations of the time they live in their friendship survives. The whole movie is filmed using a hand held camera which provides a wonderful home-made affect to the whole movie.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, Van Gough is brilliantly filmed to provide an account of the last few months of the great artist’s life. It relates the story of Van Gogh’s ill health and his infatuation in drinking and visiting brothels and is definitely a warts and all account. The film does not touch on where his brilliance came from or where he inherited his creative genius, that is not the point of this wonderful movie. It is in essence a homage to his last days and leaves the dark parts of Van Gogh’s life alone. Van Gogh concludes our exploration of French cinema and the journey has highlighted some incredible movies.