November 5, 2010
I’ve been creating an audience in my studio. This group congregated over half a century ago and many of them are now at retirement age, yet they remain “forever young”–preserved in a classic French film by François Truffaut. In 1959 this pioneer of French New Wave cinema, directed the semi-autobiographic 400 Blows. I first saw this film almost twenty years ago in my French film class at the Ontario College of Art and it has resonated with me ever since. Truffaut used his camera as a pen– caméra–stylo. His films have an immediate and thoroughly honest feel. There’s an episode in 400 Blows that has stayed with me over the years and I’ve recently dedicated several drawings capturing this moment from the film.
In the middle of 400 Blows is a scene that seems out of place. It doesn’t really contribute to the plot development, yet it’s most compelling to watch. It’s a slow pan of an audience reaction shot of kids watching a puppet show. In the next few months, I’ll attempt to capture this slow pan across the cute faces of French kids from the late ‘50s. Some are exasperated by the performance, others are frightened by what they see. To check out what I’m speaking of, follow this link. It’s a fascinating study in group psychology and how we can identify with our own childhood through the segment. What do you think of Truffaut’s footage? Perhaps you could share some of your favorite moments in movie history? Who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired by your suggestions.