Movie #81 L’Atalante
(1934, France, d. Jean Vigo)
I won’t say I’ve fully analyzed this film yet. Since I was watching it for a class I was paying more attention to specific facet of the film, that is its views of love and marriage, rather than the whole picture. But since the film is a romance I did still get a lot out of my analysis. Jean Vigo’s film is a clear inspiration for the French New Wave movement and it’s very obvious to see that throughout, especially with the sudden cuts and parallel actions as well blending of tones. As proof of that, Francois Truffaut cites this as one of the most influential films of his career. What I especially appreciated about this film was the participatory actions of the camera. Not that this is a unique event in the history of film, but I really enjoyed how more meaning of the film’s stance on love and its relation to marriage came from the angles, lighting, and movement of camera than the action itself, which fell in the vein of a typical romantic film. This praise should go to the film’s cinematographer, Boris Kaufman (brother of acclaimed Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov), who later went on to photographing such films as On the Waterfront and 12 Angry Men.