Claude Lelouch

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zedz
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Claude Lelouch

#1 Post by zedz » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:43 pm

domino harvey wrote:. . . pretty much cement now just as then how Lelouch had no business being mentioned in the same breath as the Nouvelle Vague . . .
The mystery of Lelouch's reputation was brought home to me yesterday when I was watching the (excellent) period interview with Richard Lester on the BFI Bed Sitting Room disc and the smart, probing interviewer started quizzing Lester about how much he was influenced by all the contemporary European masters around at the time. So he says something like: "How are you inspired when you see a film by. . . (Fellini? Godard? Bergman? Antonioni? Truffaut? Pasolini? Wajda? Visconti? Chabrol? - you've got a universe of talent out there and one chance to get it right, buddy, so who's it going to be?) . . . Claude Lelouch?"

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Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2011

#2 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:17 am

zedz wrote:
domino harvey wrote:. . . pretty much cement now just as then how Lelouch had no business being mentioned in the same breath as the Nouvelle Vague . . .
The mystery of Lelouch's reputation was brought home to me yesterday when I was watching the (excellent) period interview with Richard Lester on the BFI Bed Sitting Room disc and the smart, probing interviewer started quizzing Lester about how much he was influenced by all the contemporary European masters around at the time. So he says something like: "How are you inspired when you see a film by. . . (Fellini? Godard? Bergman? Antonioni? Truffaut? Pasolini? Wajda? Visconti? Chabrol? - you've got a universe of talent out there and one chance to get it right, buddy, so who's it going to be?) . . . Claude Lelouch?"
When I was researching the booklet for Second Run's A Blonde in Love, I discovered that both it and (unbelievably) The Battle of Algiers were beaten to the Best Foreign Film Oscar by Lelouch's Un Homme et une femme.

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colinr0380
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Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2011

#3 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:28 pm

Never underestimate the power of a middle class "Love Story" with a memorable soundtrack to sway the voters! And while I was under the impression that the Foreign Lanuage Oscars had been biased towards the most untroubling film working in already explored territory over the obviously better film for quite some time (see Bier's win this year or Secret In Their Eyes or Departures), I guess it was always present to some extent in the tastes of the Academy. I'll be particularly interested in participating in a Foreign Language Oscars runthrough some time in the future once domino has completed doing the Best Picture analyses - especially if we compare the Oscars to Cannes or Berlin, etc.

I actually find Lelouch to be an interesting case study - he's kind of the ad director version of Woody Allen in that his films can seem insufferably precious individually and overly slick, but they build up a kind of cumulative power when seen together (Of course this comment should be taken in the context that I've never been the biggest fan of Woody Allen and feel that Eric Rohmer knocks them both into a cocked hat in terms of 'cumulative power' of their films!) The BBC actually devoted one of their last major foreign language film seasons back in 1999 to Lelouch, so I got to see almost everything from And Now, My Love through to Chances or Coincidences and found them interesting enough, if nothing amazingly memorable. It was probably the trifecta of Lelouch, Malle and late Truffaut that gave French cinema a rather staid middlebrow reputation though, so they have to take some responsibility for that I suppose (and Lelouch feels like he really grabbed hold of the classic period Godard relationship dramas and did what Godard would never do - damningly took the stylistics of films which turned the language of cinema and of love inside out and turned them back into easily digestible, untroubling pieces of commercial fluff).

But I am beginning to look back more fondly on Lelouch now we are in the era of even more commercial, pretty but empty French cinema, such as those two Coco Chanel films, Ma femme est une actrice (a film in the mode of Lelouch if ever there was one) or La vie en Rose (a film which Lelouch's Edith and Marcel outshines. Even if it is just as much of a whitewash of 'real events' in it's own way, it propagates the myth in a more interesting way. I found that it also works in a bizarrely complimentary way when seen together with Sid & Nancy, albeit the Lelouch is obviously less grungy than the other film!)

Though the new Lelouch film that domino talks about turning into a musical suggests that Lelouch is taking his cues from Alain Resnais now!

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Dylan
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Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2011

#4 Post by Dylan » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:06 pm

I'm happy Colin came in with some positive sentiments about Claude Lelouch, as I'm a big fan of this director and I winced at bit at the trashing in this thread. Have you people seen Live for Life? Absolutely brilliant and one of my favorite films of 1967, I read it as (partially) dealing with the topicality of man in the 1960's where the violence in Africa and Vietnam has something to do with the inability of couples to stay happy with each other. The music and cinematography are amazing, as are the performances by Montand and Girardot.

I'm a big fan of A Man and a Woman, and I think it has one of the greatest soundtracks (and themes) of the era with two brilliant leads and lots of style & emotion, but even as one of this film's only real fans it actually wouldn't make my top ten of 1966, which just goes to show what an absolutely exceptional year that was. The best foreign film that year, in my opinion, was Blow Up.

Meanwhile, I lump Lelouch in with Malle and Resnais and a few other late fifties/early-mid sixties French directors I don't consider part of the New Wave. But we have a separate discussion on this board dealing with the topic of who was and wasn't (or is/isn't considered) "New Wave."

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zedz
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Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2011

#5 Post by zedz » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:15 pm

Further to that Lelouch mention in the Lester interview, it may have been a quirk of the interviewer. I've now watched his interview with Peter Cook on the same disc, in which he grills Cook on his opinions about all sorts of deadly serious topics: the state of British politics, the monetary crisis, the Vietnam War and . . . Claude Lelouch!

The same guy also interviews a strip club proprietor and a stripper on the Primitive London disc, but I regret to inform you all that their opinions of Claude Lelouch were not recorded for posterity.

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antnield
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Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2011

#6 Post by antnield » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:39 pm

zedz wrote:Further to that Lelouch mention in the Lester interview, it may have been a quirk of the interviewer. I've now watched his interview with Peter Cook on the same disc, in which he grills Cook on his opinions about all sorts of deadly serious topics: the state of British politics, the monetary crisis, the Vietnam War and . . . Claude Lelouch!

The same guy also interviews a strip club proprietor and a stripper on the Primitive London disc, but I regret to inform you all that their opinions of Claude Lelouch were not recorded for posterity.
"The same guy" is Bernard Braden and the interviews were conducted for Now and Then (the link takes you to the BFI's Screenonline piece on the series), a pet project of Braden's which never saw the light of day. The interviews have cropped up on various BFI discs - Tales from the Shipyard features one with Sean Connery, Bronco Bullfrog has a Joan Littlewood one, etc.

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domino harvey
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Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2011

#7 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:50 pm

I think the ultimate blow struck against Lelouch probably came from his own mouth before he introduced his latest film: "I wanted to make a film that touched the viewer's heart, not their brain"-- as though one were exclusive of the other. It's partly a Holocaust film, too, so it's some small wonder that this didn't win an Oscar as well-- though its (coincidental) similarity to Inglorious Basterds probably didn't help. I recall a brouhaha in the late sixties when the Young Turks were arguing amongst themselves whether Lelouch deserved to be mentioned as a New Wave figure and Chabrol gave a spirited defense in favor of (the indefensible) Une homme et une femme, for whatever that's worth

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Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2011

#8 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:04 pm

antnield wrote:"The same guy" is Bernard Braden and the interviews were conducted for Now and Then (the link takes you to the BFI's Screenonline piece on the series), a pet project of Braden's which never saw the light of day. The interviews have cropped up on various BFI discs - Tales from the Shipyard features one with Sean Connery, Bronco Bullfrog has a Joan Littlewood one, etc.
...and of course it's standard practice to ask multiple people the same question if the interviews are intended to form part of a TV documentary featuring intercut talking heads. In fact, I was explicitly asked to raise certain topics prior to interviewing Anthony Simmons for the Shadows of Progress documentary, and I realised why when I saw the final edited version.

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domino harvey
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Re: Claude Lelouch

#9 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:07 pm

Cahiers' "Director's Thumbnail" on Lelouch from '62:

Screenwriter, dialogue writer, director, cameraman, in brief the total auteur; this is the most recent example of the gawky disciple, Taking Godard for an improviser and Rouch for a long-distance runner, he wanders that streets at any good or bad (lucky or unlucky) hour filming anything anyway. "If you don't like this, don't disgust the others with it", seems to be the thinking of American television which has proposed to him to show America in the way he has shown Paris. A fat lot of good that will do.

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Camera Obscura
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Re: Claude Lelouch

#10 Post by Camera Obscura » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:58 pm

I'm a (closet) Lelouch fan. And blessed with an incurable soft spot for schmaltzy middle class love dramas.

Years ago since I've seen it and not really up for a full-on defense of this one (or Lelouch in general), but I even prefer Lelouch's follow-up 'heist-romance' La bonne année ('73) over Un homme et une femme (which is explicitly referenced in the opening scene), this time with Lino Ventura and Françoise Fabian taking the lead roles. Perhaps I'm overly forgiving on this one. Despite some of the accusations of faux philosophical conversations, Ventura and Sagan carry this one so effortlessly all the way it's just irresistable (even though at this point Ventura has been typecast to death as the world-weary criminal loner with the romantic heart of gold).

But how was Lelouch considered by French critics back then?
Besides Domino's Cahiers thumbnail from '62 and Chabrol's defense of Un homme et une femme back then, how was his work supposed to represent anything remotely 'New Wave' like. Or rather, I don't see the point of measuring him along comtemporary New Wave directors. There seems to be an impenetrable pecking order for 60s French Cinema with Godard on top and from his films on everything is measured along New Wave standards, which is understandable from a 60s point of view, but bound to sideline Lelouch into the tiniest of margins of French Cinema.

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#11 Post by Dylan » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:10 am

It's partly a Holocaust film, too, so it's some small wonder that this didn't win an Oscar as well
It will be eligible next year.
I'm a (closet) Lelouch fan. And blessed with an incurable soft spot for schmaltzy middle class love dramas.
Same here. And if you like him just get out of that closet, Lelouch is a great filmmaker and Live for Life is easily one of my top fifty films of the 1960's.

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#12 Post by Perkins Cobb » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:53 am

Out of what I've seen, the only Lelouch film that I don't find largely vomitous is the obscure Un homme qui me plaît (Love Is a Funny Thing, 1969), which has a good Annie Girardot star turn, and finds Lelouch shooting in Los Angeles. So the film benefits from that outsider / French film buff's view of Hollywood; it's a companion piece to Model Shop and Lions Love, or even The Outside Man.

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rohmerin
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Re: Claude Lelouch

#13 Post by rohmerin » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:44 am

Let's leave the closet. Another fan here. I've loved the 6 Lelouch films that I've seen.
I like his Ophülsian way to film long sequences in complicated and elegant shots.
There's a Lelocuh talk in international DVDs that was a kind of guide for me.

Chabrol? I did not like any of his 12 movies I saw. But they don't have anything in common. New vague is another label

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Camera Obscura
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Re: Claude Lelouch

#14 Post by Camera Obscura » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:40 pm

Well, I might have just come out of the closet, but you're gonna sideline Chabrol in favour of Lelouch? ;)

From what I've seen, Lelouch pleases me as a reasonably accomplished craftsman, mostly working comfortably within established French genres with decent budgets and A-list French actors. Chabrol operates in an entire different world and rather consistently explored the same themes rather brilliantly throughout many of his films (not all of them, but Les bonnes femmes, the Hélène-cycle, La Cérémonie, just to name a few). It might not have rubbed off on contemporary critics, but looking at Chabrol's oeuvre now, talk about 'cumulative power'.

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#15 Post by rohmerin » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:56 pm

I've just seen Vivre pour vivre for firt time and I disagree all Dylan loved. Montand was a racal macho in hi real life and here plays himelf. The contrast between violence from WWII or that 60's war in the former colonies + the good living in Europe, NY and the safari is like Mondo cane !
Yves Sain-Laurent outfits are sublime, Candice Bergen speaks good French and she's gorgeous, like an Aryan dream. Girardot is great (I agree that, very good actress, always, even on her dubbed Italian roles) but the film is a mess, the plot is anecdotic. The love triangle is deja vù. If someone want to see a may-december adultery love affair, please take Dino Risi's il tigre (known in US as The tigger and the pussycat): Risi has got something to say in chic Rome.
An all the Robert Capa refferences, come on !

Here I find for 1st time all his tastes: winter sports, the travelling around the Globe as a James Bond in Air France, but I repeat, the film doesn't work and it's loooooong.

I want to improve my French, so I'm going to get more Claude's.

(and sorry for my English, I have to improve it too, I know).

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Dylan
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Re: Claude Lelouch

#16 Post by Dylan » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:54 am

I saw it as being about a man who wants affairs but still cares about the women he's involved in too much so he's bound to hurt them and himself. One could say that is is a film about non-involvement. He goes to Africa. He goes to Vietnam. He's distrubed by what he sees but it's just another news story, another adventure to return from. He sees the women the same way. He's not really involved with them either. The sound dials out for certain scenes, replaced with music or sound effects: he's not really there, he's not listening, he's in his subjective world thinking. And this film makes adultery look like a lot of work and emotional hell - it's incredibly detailed with him going here and arranging this and that. Trains. Plains. Hotels. Ski resorts. Apartments. Artworks. NYC. Amsterdam. All restless motion.

It is beautiful to look at and listen to. And it's shot in NYC, Amsterdam, Paris, Africa. The costumes couldn't be better, as you noted. The music is great, perhaps the best part about the film. It's also very energetic with numerous fascinating details and shots with some wonderful bits of humor and beautiful dialogue.

Meanwhile, I love the first Mondo Cane but I didn't see any connection to that here, other than (perhaps) the scoring, which isn't what you're talking about.

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#17 Post by rohmerin » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:22 am

Girardot is his shelter after all the adventures (in the double meaning of the word adventure in all the Latineuropean languages) because he's a war correspondant as Capa was (too cheap, sorry).
I disagree again, he involves with Bergen, he didn't it with his mistresses before (we only know two). Because she knows, but he involves. So, he's brave in life but coward with women, was that the final judgment?

I like what youn say about the sound. He doesn't listen, yes.
The train sequence back to Paris when he confess and Giradot suffers and escapes is the only one when I got into the film and it's the one that make me feel something.

Mondo cane, I didn't explain well. If you remember, they show us a "nice" thing (4 instance, a starlett in bikini in Cannes), the following will be a horrible one, the sharks, then nice, after that, horror, etc, etc. That is the structure I saw in Vivre pour vivre.

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Dylan
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Re: Claude Lelouch

#18 Post by Dylan » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:39 pm

So, he's brave in life but coward with women, was that the final judgment?
I disagree, again, he's a man who wants affairs but is too emotional toward the women he's with to handle them without everybody crashing down. He's anything but a coward with women. What I meant was that his experiences with women mirror his career as a war correspondent & what was going on in the world in 1967, which I think is brilliant.

And meanwhile, how many movies about these kinds of characters are there? When approaching a script like this you'll probably (obviously?) be inspired by the experiences of Martha Gellhorn or Robert Capa and the like, but I think Claude Lelouch's own personality makes it into his male characters. He's obviously very alpha & strong but deeply self-critical, flawed, & cynical about his own gender. He comes across as brutally honest to me.

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#19 Post by warren oates » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:34 pm

Just having seen Lelouch's legendary street racing short C'était Un Rendez-vous, I found a single reference to it in an old archived thread. I'm not remotely a car nut and yet it's still immensely thrilling to watch, in spite of all the moral qualms I have with the shooting, because of the undeniable reality* he captures. A great documentary of the process of its own reckless making and one of the better long takes/one-take films I've seen. While you can watch it on-line many places in varying degrees of transfer quality and legality, the official home video distributors, Spirit Level Film in the UK, will be releasing a Blu-ray next week, which will hopefully be region-free like their DVD is. It seems like it might already be available directly from their website.

*yeah I know about the post sound work and the spotter

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#20 Post by Numero Trois » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:09 am

colinr0380 wrote:But I am beginning to look back more fondly on Lelouch now we are in the era of even more commercial, pretty but empty French cinema, such as those two Coco Chanel films, Ma femme est une actrice (a film in the mode of Lelouch if ever there was one)
Mileage of course always varies, but I think Attal's Ma Femme Est une Actrice is a decent film. One of a countless number of charming French comedies. Of course it's not revolutionary, but it is sharply written enough not to mention sincere enough in its apparent autobiographical storytelling. It's straightforward, not what I think of comparing to when it comes to the particular quirks of LeLouch. You're right in mentioning the preciousness in his work. It's certainly there of course in A Man and a Woman, and it's there in his later films, at least the ones that I've seen. It's almost like a cognitive dissonance, a certain habitual cluelessness that messes up even his best constructed films.
Perkins Cobb wrote:Out of what I've seen, the only Lelouch film that I don't find largely vomitous is the obscure Un homme qui me plaît (Love Is a Funny Thing, 1969), which has a good Annie Girardot star turn, and finds Lelouch shooting in Los Angeles.
Yes. Not to mention the pleasure of seeing Girardot & Belmondo
SpoilerShow
driving cross-country all the way to Mardi Gras in New Orleans with various stops along the way.
It's funny how novel it still feels to see two major French actors well outside the usual Paris milieu. Unfortunately, LeLouch couldn't resist drawing out the ending, but that's just a minor fault in one surprisingly enjoyable film.

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#21 Post by rohmerin » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:19 pm

Has anybody seen Ces amours-la? What war may bring. I've just seen the UK Blu Ray and the films reminds me the horrible Tornatore's Bariaa. Well, I mean, He has made (again a musical drama) and a biographical portrait, He has remade Les unes et les autres (without its beauty), Toute une vie (without the great story). He's marked by WWII, we know, but He even uses his films for going on the action in a not so beautiful film about a woman who loves too much: first a French, then a nazi, later two soldiers, an interratial Jules et Jim, later an Auswitchz survivor.

Is there any Lelouch's expert? Because one of those movie clips is stunning and impressive: an American-Indian runs in Texas or Kansas a la Cimarron The great race and he wins chariots, horses, etc. What is this film?

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#22 Post by rohmerin » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:27 pm

I've found a lobbycard with the race and teh film is Another Man, Another Woman. Is it ggod?

http://www.cartelespeliculas.com/galeri ... os=-187069" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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domino harvey
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Re: Claude Lelouch

#23 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:47 pm

rohmerin wrote:Has anybody seen Ces amours-la?
Yes, in fact it was my comments about the film here that started this thread-split in the first place!

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Re: Claude Lelouch

#24 Post by Caligula » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:42 am

Pleasantly surprised to see that one of my most wanted films, Lelouch's Les Miserables, is up for pre-order at Amazon.fr.

Anyone have any idea whether this'll be English-friendly, if not, what the chances are of it being licensed for a subbed version elsewhere (If memory suffices, Warner issued the VHS)?

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tenia
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Re: Claude Lelouch

#25 Post by tenia » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:53 am

I don't specifically know for Les Misérables since it's not sold yet, but I have Itinéraire d'un enfant gâté (another Lelouch released by Marco Polo) and it has no subtitles at all (not even a French SDH one). I have a couple of other releases from this collection which, IIRC, also have no subs, so I'd be careful with Les misérables if you need Eng subs.

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