Friday, March 14, 2003

What is with the French?

This afternoon I attended the second class I am auditing this semester. The title is “The Narrative Image”. This class is the third photography course that I have audited.

This week we watched some selections from the 'French New Wave’. I understand that this movement was pivotal in the development of international cinema. Unfortunately I was in no mood to spend 4 hours watching anything French. The films clips were very cool but the documentary put me over the edge.

We watched “Stolen Portraits” a documentary about François Truffaut. He was a writer/director/actor who evidently influenced many in the cinema world. I understand it is an important movement but I was in no mood to deal with the French. I am particularly proud of myself for not leaving the room when Gérard Depardieu quoted an early writing by the Truffaunt.

The quote that drove me crazy was “The war and the idiots who fought in it left me cold”. Consider this for a moment.

Truffant was born in 1932 and raised in Paris. In the entire documentary this statement was the only reference to WWII. I would have imagined that the occupation of your city by Nazis and its liberation would have been a formative experience. Evidently I was wrong.

I find this to be an interesting insight to the mind of a Parisian intellectual. Having lived through the occupation and the liberation of Paris they now are ‘left cold’. No wonder they do not see the conflict today through the lens of the horrors of WWII as I do. They don’t even see WWII through the lens of its horrors!


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