Archive Fever! 5.0
Far From Vietnam & The New Wave By Itself
FAR FROM VIETNAM
dirs. Jean-Luc Godard, JorisIvens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Chris Marker, and Alain Resnais, France, 1967, DCP, French w/ English subtitles, 115min.
Initiated and edited by Chris Marker, Far From Vietnam is an epic 1967 collaboration between cinema greats Jean-Luc Godard, JorisIvens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch and Alain Resnais in protest of American military involvement in Vietnam--made, per Marker's narration, "to affirm, by the exercise of their craft, their solidarity with the Vietnamese people in their struggle against aggression."
truly collaborative effort, the film brings together an array of stylistically
disparate contributions, none individually credited, under a unified editorial vision.
The elements span documentary footage shot in North and South Vietnam and at
anti-war demonstrations in the United States; a fictional vignette and a
monologue that dramatize the self-interrogation of European intellectuals;
interviews with Fidel Castro and Anne Morrison, widow of Norman Morrison, the
Quaker pacifist who burned himself alive on the steps of the White House in
1965; an historical overview of the conflict; reflections from French
journalist Michèle Ray; and a range of repurposed media material.
critical and self-critical, and as bold in form as it is in rhetoric, Far From
Vietnam is a milestone in political documentary and in the French cinema.
THE NEW WAVE BY ITSELF
dirs. Robert Valey & André S. Labarthe, France, 1995, digital, French w/ English subtitles, 57 min.
Shot in 1964, this film is a beautiful time capsule of the French New Wave in action. Probably the most important post-war film movement, "la Nouvelle Vague" revitalized cinema all over the world. In a departure from the basic rule of the Cinema, of Our Time series, which tends to focus on a particular film director, THE NEW WAVE BY ITSELF looks at the entire movement. Henri Langlois (co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française) provides a charming introduction, and all of the most important directors are here, including Claude Chabrol, Jacques Démy, Georges Franju, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Jean Rouch, François Truffaut, and Agnès Varda. With clips from many of their most important films, they discuss how they managed to make their first films (and in some cases, how they helped each other), as well the impulses or motivations behind their approach to filmmaking. Varda talks about wanting to make films that were not pleasant to watch, but that were thought provoking, and Godard talks of wanting to destroy the clichés, rules and myths of commercial French cinema. Of course after the huge initial successes of 1959 and 1960 (The 400 Blows, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Breathless), by 1964 the movement was struggling. Truffaut, Rivette and Godard all discuss the "failure" of the New Wave. Beginning and ending with Godard on the set directing a sequence from Band of Outsiders, The New Wave by Itself is a priceless record of the time, place and people who invented modern cinema.