La Nouvelle Vague: Solène GUICHARD: 7 octobre 2015


This evening's presentation on La Nouvelle Vague, given by Solène GUICHARD, drew a large attendance of around 40 people with many new faces at this the first talk of the cercle's new season.

Solène prefaced her presentation with a slide of an important building in Paris inviting her audience to say where it was.  Having been there back in 2012 for a memorable exhibition of Tim Burton's work I ventured La cinemathèque française. Yes it was, but what I didn't know was that it was so influential an institution among film makers that without it there would have been no Nouvelle Vague.

As a concession to her large audience that included francophile as well as francophone participants, Solène switched effortlessly between French and English to introduce key directors and artists associated with the genre.

Next she engaged in an étude comparative between two films (Renoir, 1939 and Resnais, 1959) showing very effectively how the cinematic styles differed from one another: inside/outside; large crew/small crew; much/little equipment; famous/unknown lead actors and the differing reliance on character and text.  In a most interesting segment on the Resnais film, Hiroshima Mon Amour, she talked about le cinèma littéraire highlighting the screenplay for the film which had been written by Marguerite Duras.

Solène's talk moved to focus on what for her were les deux plus grands films de la Nouvelle Vague: François Truffaut's Les 400 Coups (1959) and Jean-Luc Godard's À Bout de Souffle (1959).  It was clear from audience comments that many listening considered these to be among their favourite films also.  Solène concluded with a quote from Jean-Luc Godard, "All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl !"  which provoked a lively exchange of questions and answers that probably could have gone on for quite some time, and certainly beyond our appointed finishing time, had our own film enthusiast, Philip, not stepped into director mode with his Lumières ! Caméra ! On tourne ! and brought proceedings to a close with rounds of audience appreciation for an excellent talk.

Solène. Un très grand merci !