À propos de Nice
Nice cleans up on tourists, they come on trains, in waves. You get value for money, palaces have sprung up there. You’re walking along, ornate shadows on the pavement catch your eye.
There you are, upon the promenade. The plage, a seaplane. Sailboats flying lazily along. A little more spirit, tennis. boules, racing cars, a speedboat, arrivals by motorcar, les belles femmes. Onlookers at café tables. Sitters, sea gulls, sleepers in chairs. A little street ensemble of performers.
Sitters’ legs, women’s legs, a woman of fashion in various ensembles and without. Sand and sea, sunburn. “Allegories on the banks of the Nile.” The sun’s rays, a column among curves. The narrow shaded streets, women doing laundry, errand boys toting solar disks on their heads, the health of the place, its residue of filth. Dancers in pairs.
Carnival parade, flowers culled and tossed, girls. Soldiers marching, crosses, warships, girls. A view of paradise, angelic realms. Sea and shingle, l’ange de la mousse, waving cypresses, girls, girls, girls. La vielle et la tour. The agony of a carnival head, men’s laughter, the fiery furnace, hot coals, the fuming smokestack.
It begins with an aerial view of the city (like the last shot of L’Atalante), a labyrinthine careless sort of shot, it begins with a firework.
Boulez, “we put everybody in the pool to see who is the best swimmer.”
Jean Taris, champion swimmer, demonstrates. A fast start, the use of legs, proper breathing, the turn, a coordinated and well-directed effort.
To be in one’s element, all sorts of styles and manners (the usual panoply) are given.
Out of the pool he flies feet first, presto he is vested and hatted, greets the camera, walks away across the water.
Zéro de Conduite
Jeunes diables au collège.
Et O ces voix d’enfants behind the title credits ahead of Crichton’s Hue and Cry, chantant dans la coupole ahead of Richardson’s a taste of honey!
La Rentrée... Youthful tricks and gewgaws, le cigare de la jeunesse...
Le Collège...“Forbidden totally by the censors,” Truffaut tells us, then a Baudelairean flight, “later, when he presented Zéro de Conduite in Brussels...”
Jean Dasté’s Charlot, an Andrew L. Stone cartoon. The title denotes Sunday punishment, detention.
The absolute bloody Gospel truth, je te jure, and therefore beautiful, je vous assure.
Well, there was a René Clair. “Il faut les surveiller.” Liberty or death. La France révolutionnaire. Alfred Jarry, too.
“A great filmmaker, the equal of Renoir, Gance and Buñuel” (Truffaut).
The appreciation of Truffaut is monumentally expanded by Lindsay Anderson, “take the high ground and hold it,” says Our Mister Brooks, Malle has Au Revoir les enfants.
A voyage to Paris.
Dita Parlo, born for speaking roles.
Papa Jules’ “bonhomme” in Renoir’s La Règle du jeu.
Fellini on the quay. Antonioni’s Gente del Po.
Not forgetting, above all, Murnau’s Sunrise.
The master analysis waits for such things as Lumet’s The Last of the Mobile Hotshots, even Huston’s The Misfits. In the meantime, Vigo’s poupées...
Simon, Belmondo’s granddad.
The vaunted Gaumont restoration has a digitized soundtrack and must be considered a reproduction. “In the future,” says Godard, “television will only show reproductions.”
And, “no Vigo because Gaumont had killed him.”
“He achieved perfection, he made a masterpiece” (Truffaut).
“Laugh! There’s harder things than makin’ a record play with your finger! And electricity, do ya know what that is? Eh? Alors. And the wireless, do ya know how that works? Non? So don’t argue.”
And they talk about La Nouvelle Vague.