Saturday, March 20, 2010

Uuden aallon jäljillä eli missä on Antoine Doinel?

[On the Trail of the New Wave, or, Where Is Antoine Doinel?] FI 2009. PC: YLE Kulttuuri. P: Jaana Semeri. D+SC: Kati Sinisalo. 52 min, with Finnish subtitles. First transmitted at the YLE Teema channel on 14 March 2009. Watched on dvd at home, 20 March 2010.

The award-winning cultural television documentary produced to inaugurate the tribute to the Nouvelle Vague by the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE) last year. A labour of love with great film clips from Truffaut, Godard, Resnais, Demy, and Rohmer, and precious news footage of the 14-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud in Cannes in 1959, François Truffaut interviewed by Hannu Karpo in Finland in 1964, the Cannes festival in 1968, and Jean-Pierre Léaud in Sodankylä in 1990. The Aki Kaurismäki / Jean-Pierre Léaud connection is followed from Valehtelija till I Hired a Contract Killer. Monte Rosso (FI 2008) is included as an example of the presence of la Nouvelle Vague today.

The documentary is constructed as a mosaic of interviews shot at two festivals: Cannes and Sodankylä in 2008, with witnesses well-known and unknown. They include Stig Björkman, Aldo Tassone, A.J. Annila, Michel Martin, Peter von Bagh, Andrei Konchalovsky, Suzanne Liandrat-Gubignes, Jean-Louis Leutrat, V.P. Makkonen, Dome Karukoski, and Sakari Toiviainen. Some of the funniest remarks are by Milos Forman, himself influenced by la Nouvelle Vague, but engaged in Cannes in 1968 to participate in the boycott complete with red flags.

La Nouvelle Vague is now receding to the mid-point of film history. Yet the term La Nouvelle Vague still seems valid as there has not been an epochal rejuvenation of the world cinema since. This great attempt to challenge tradition lasted from 1959 until 1968. An interesting remark in the documentary is that "in painting you cannot go back to a past style, but in the cinema you can".

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