Friday, August 24, 2012

L'Eau froide / Cold Water

Pariisin kevät. FR © 1994 IMA Films. P: Georges Benayoun, Paul Rozenberg. D+SC: Olivier Assayas. Quoted: Allen Ginsberg's "Wichita Vortex Sutra". Ass. D: François-Renaud Labarthe. DP: Denis Lenoir – Super 16 mm – blown up to 35 mm – Fuji - colour. AD: Gilbert Gagneux. Cost: Françoise Clavel. M selection: "Me & Bobby McGee" perf. Janis Joplin; "Up Around The Bend" perf. Creedence Clearwater Revival; "Janitor Of Lunacy" perf. Nico; "Virginia Plain" perf. Roxy Music; "Avalanche" perf. Leonard Cohen; "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" perf. Bob Dylan; "School's Out" perf. Alice Cooper; "Easy Livin'" perf. Uriah Heep; "Cosmic Wheels" perf. Donovan. S: Hervé Chauvel, William Flageollet. ED: Luc Barnier. Production manager: Sylvie Barthet. Photographer: Isabelle Weingarten. C: Virginie Ledoyen (Christine), Cyprien Fouquet (Gilles), László Szabó (the father of Gilles), Jean-Pierre Darroussin (inspector), Dominique Faysse (the mother of Christine), Smaïl Mekki (Mourad), Jackie Berroyer (the father of Christine), Jean-Christophe Bouvet (teacher), Ilona Györi (Marie, the Hungarian maid), Renée Amzallag, Jerôme Simonin, Laetitia Lemerle, Alexandra Yonnet, Caroline Doron, Laetitia Giraud. Released on VHS in Finland in 1996 by Finnkino – VET V-2785 – S12 – 94 min. A print with English subtitles by Ian Burley and also French subtitles for the Hungarian dialogue viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Olivier Assayas), 24 August 2012.
    [The short version of this movie is called La Page blanche - TV version in the series Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge - 4ème: Le Début des années 70 - 67 min.]

A rough, edgy, gritty, and deeply felt account of young people in the 1970s. The title of the long theatrical version, Cold Water, refers to the sublime rushing river and the waterfall at the end of the movie. Christine has taken Gilles to the desolate wintry landscape where there is supposedly a community of artists among which they can live. But in the morning Christine has disappeared, and she has left behind all her clothes and belongings and a blank piece of paper - to which the title of the tv version of the movie, La Page blanche, refers. The metaphorical senses of both titles are fully meant. The breakaway from society leads to a cold shower to both Christine and Gilles. And both Christine and Gilles, distancing themselves or even fighting their parents, the school system, and society in general, are still blank, unwritten pages.

"Trop tard", "too late" is a phrase heard during the movie, and Kent Jones has written an essay on L'Eau froide where he sees it as a key phrase for the whole generation depicted. L'Eau froide is a movie about a big disappointment. The previous generation fails to convey the inspiration of the great tradition of culture (Rousseau, Caravaggio). The climax is the party at the abandoned castle where the records played (see list above) all carry messages. This sequence, at least, is music-driven.

The visual quality of the 35 mm blow-up print understandably betrays its 16 mm origins.

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