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Six delightful short stories and candidate for the Criterion Collection, without a doubt.
A big advantage for Six In Paris (SIP) being Criterion'd would be a sprucing up of the english sub-titles, which are white and when presented over daylight scenes, can be difficult to read.
Would also hope Criterion includes the special features that are included with this New Yorker Films disc, they being 4 interviews conducted in 2008, one with Barbet Schroeder, editor Jackie Raynal, Albert Maysles and Film critic Richard Brody. Brody sheds tremendous light on the entire history of the French new wave film movement but also adds insight into each of the 6 stories here.
Barbet Schroeder is interviewed, also providing enlightening description on the whole production of SIP which as a 22 year old, he produced!
Each story is separated by approximately 20 seconds of black screen------
story #1--After a gorgeous opening featuring the bustling streets of Paris (this is where the narration in white subtitles can be difficult to read) we settle in on an apartment scene with a girl and guy that becomes a heated exchange, a separation and a concluding twist. (don't want to give too much away)
story # deux--directed by Jean Rouch, this came to be my favorite of the six stories. Firstly, we have a story presented in, I'd like to say one long take, but I detect an edit halfway through, moving from a darkened elevator shaft to the concluding out-doors scene. But even so, two long unedited scenes, and, if true, one long unedited scene is amazing to follow. So much for the actors to memorize and execute without error.
Secondly, the small details...the breakfast table with the couple sipping their coffee from small bowls, baggette and butter vs. toast, .. on a blue and white striped table cloth and the vision of 22 year old Barbet in orange pajamas, countered with his later 2008 interview in the dvd's special features. Second time I've encountered a character named Odile, the first being Godards' Band of Outsiders. Friction between the two, this time of the married variety, as opposed to the singles in story 1, gains steam, featuring this exchange I thought worth noting: Wife- "The worse thing about marriage is that one is never alone. You've lost your mystery. When I first met you, I could imagine anything. Now, I know all your qualities and faults....I always know what you'll do. Can there be love when the mystery is gone?" He: "I don't understand you. Its the opposite for me. The more I know you, the more I love you. Even your little faults."
The shocking finale made me exclaim "Woooah-I didn't see THAT coming!"
story # trois----A light souffle after a heavy meal. A slight man with an unforgetable face escorts an escort to his tiny apartment. She: "like winter in here!" With a portrait of his father gazing down upon them, the 'action' is postponed as they settle in for some supper. Quite amusing as we wait....and wait, for the ultimate transaction that will come to pass.....?
saving the big guns for last with stories 4, 5 and 6 directed by Eric Rohmer,Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Chabrol.
story # quatre-Rohmer's story begins with an extensive explanation and pictoral of the center of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe, which as explained is the intersection of the 12 wide avenues. Because the Arc is a tribute to Napolean, the French never go there, being "disdainful of the prestige" it represents. It is only visited and looked on by tourists and foreigners. Soon however a story developes that I found the most curious of the six, that is to say, not uninteresting. Brody points out in his interview, the only story not involving a woman in a major role. Curious with moments of tension, humor and retribution....or not.
story # Cinq-the story I was most interested in seeing by Godard but filmed by Albert Maysles-explained succinctly by Brody in the interview. As with all six stories, Godards' opens with some Parisian street scenes-traffic, pedestrians etc., although reassuringly vacillating between street sounds and silence as Godard is want to do. You wouldn't have it any other way. Johanna Shimkus,tres belle,in her second screen appearance, stars as a coquettish tease visiting upon two men, both lovers and both undecided by her whom she loves more. Once again, Brody's analysis of this story as what was happening in Godards own life between he and his then wife Anna Karina is facinating.
story six-directed and starring Claude Chabrol , I'm only just realizing none of this is widescreen! Calling Criterion again! Interesting story, while I feel the slightest of the 6. Here, I realize that the French drink red wine with their meals. Nothing new to anyone I'm sure but something I find interesting nevertheless.
Claude gulps it down after a mouthful of food as he bickers with his wife "the queen mother" while their son seeks to block out all the noise.
In conclusion, while I appreciate that this DVD is available courtesy of New Yorker films, I would love to have it upgraded by Criterion or MOC or Olive or whomever with new subtitles and letterboxed AND not forgetting to carry over the essential special feature interviews included with the New Yorker release.