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Friday, 03 September 2010 13:28

Two in the Wave explores relationship between Truffaut and Godard

Two in the Wave explores relationship between Truffaut and Godard
Written by Diane Carson
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Webster University's Thursday night Cinephelia series continues September 9th with the documentary Two in the Wave. Movie lovers who care about film history, especially the influential French New Wave, will welcome this rich addition to our knowledge. Through superb archival footage, director Emmanuel Laurent begins with early theoretical writings for Cahiers du Cinéma and traces the close friendship and eventual estrangement of Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. With the expert contributions of writer/narrator and former Cahiers du Cinéma editor Antoine de Baecque, Laurent includes their early short films and their first features, putting them in historical context.

And this context is crucial since it includes the post-WWII championing of several too-glibly dismissed Hollywood directors as well as, later in Truffaut's career, a milestone book of interviews with the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. At other junctions, the 1968 student marches and the interruption and shutting down of the Cannes Film Festival dominate the cinematic landscape. Factor in these and other young New Wave directors redefining the narrative feature, and the excitement even today is palpable. As important to remember, those famous directors now associated with the French New Wave-Rivette, Chabrol, and Rohmer in addition to Truffaut and Godard-did not think of themselves as a film movement. In fact, the differences in their style and content, their thematic and political ideas prove this.

But most important for Two in the Wave is the relationship between Truffaut and Godard, though, as the documentary makes clear, they grew up in dramatically different circumstances. They came together through their love of cinema. Footage from both their short films reveals their emerging talent. Truffaut wrote Godard's first feature, A Bout de Souffle/Breathless and encouraged him to make it. Similarly, Godard strongly supported Truffaut, especially for his magnificent first feature The 400 Blows. This makes their eventual bitter falling out, including harsh verbal and written attacks on each other later in their careers, all the more devastating.

Revealing and exciting, Two in the Wave relies on first-hand accounts, especially interviews Truffaut and Godard gave on various occasions about their work. A treasure trove of archival footage adds depth and breadth to the Godard's and Truffaut's places in film history. In French with English subtitles.

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