Jacques Rozier

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Jacques Rozier

#27 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat May 25, 2019 10:42 pm

Finally bought and went through this set after seeing Rozier’s terrific Adieu Philippine and Du côté d'Orouët a few years back. Some thoughts:

For the short films, Rentrée des classes was an endearing snapshot that captured some of the magic of an acute and realistic childhood adventure. Blue Jeans on the other hand did nothing for me, though I can appreciate how it fits into the style of the early New Wave as well as an obvious precursor to Adieu Philippine. I don’t have anything to say about his first feature that hasn’t already been said. It’s terrific fun and poignant about the sobering realities that coincide with the whimsical pleasures of life.

Du côté d'Orouët has been and probably always will be my favorite Rozier, as is the general consensus, and for good reasons, most of which have already been gushed about at length in this and other threads. I will only add that I don’t think there has been a more genuine film made, with completely authentic mannerisms, emotional expressions, and subtle actions of people as they co-exist. Rozier lets the camera linger on his actors in situations for what seems like both no time at all and forever, though it doesn’t feel like lingering; there is nothing intrusive or forced about his compassionate and humanistic filmmaking. I remember when The Mother and the Whore had a permanent spot in my top 10, because despite the unlikeability of its characters, there was a captivating aura bursting with truth in every scene. While I still love that film, this takes the best parts of the Eustache and molds them into something fresher and even more welcoming; and though I don’t know if it’s any more inviting, it’s certainly the movie where I want to stay, for as long as it’ll have me.

The Castaways of Turtle Island, on the other hand, is missing much of the meditative feel of real life exchanges while still carrying the floating, playful vibe, albeit one that’s meandering rather than exhilarating, especially in the first part before the ‘adventure’ begins. There are plenty of ambient scenes of characters just “being” with themselves and with others, but something is missing here. I felt disengaged during many of these drawn out scenes of people hanging out that had the opposite effect in Du côté d'Orouët. I suppose going for natural moments of banality risks the possibility of landing as a ‘miss’ vs. ‘hit,’ treading a vulnerable line that depends heavily on how everything clicks into place, particularly a reliance on strong actors and interesting characters vs. story. Many of the laughs had here seemed forced and unnatural- which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but doesn’t exactly align with the methodology Rozier often imposes. This felt like a half-baked midpoint between the Rozier who is content and interested in just sitting with and examining his characters through a natural eye, and the Rozier who wants to provide avenues for his characters to jump from scenario to scenario, interacting with others or their environments in a low-key zany rhythm for comic relief. As he tries to push his vision in both directions, Rozier winds up stretching himself too thin, making each process feel short-changed and lacking the heart of his other work (thankfully Rozier does strike this balance perfectly in his second best film: Maine Ocean). I’m being rather harsh for someone that actually did like the film: it’s funny, containing some repetitive visual gags and solid jokes on processes of socialization and communication. However, the lack of cohesive strategy and mood made for a confusing experience. I wasn’t sure what this film was trying to be, and taken as a whole it didn’t mesh beyond half-measures, creating a good but far from great picture.

The final film in the set was the biggest surprise. From the very beginning of Maine Ocean we engage with characters on a universal level through visualization of moods based on reactions to stimuli, often in the form of other people. There is a language barrier, which leads to some hilarious exchanges on a train, but we connect to, and watch the characters connect - or attempt to- via their facial expressions, tone of voice, body language. This is a film about people interacting and the individualistic routines, tools (including language), and attitudes that serve as barriers and gateways to harmonious connection and understanding. From erratic, impulsive behavior in a courtroom, to obsessive one-track professionalist rule enforcement on a train, to several attempts at flirtation, characters fluctuate on a scale of patience and flexibility of tolerance with one another. We get to have fun either way, as the argumentative scenes are a scream, but there’s a lot more charm and natural pleasure when we get moments of multiple people hanging out, patient, willing, and motivated to drop their culturally or personally-imposed guards and engage with one another freely. Sure, this occurs with verbal language, but also through eye contact, touch, physical proximity, and in one scene playing music and dancing together. This film breathes deeply like all the best moments in life that feel effortlessly satisfying and wind up forming our fondest memories.

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domino harvey
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Re: Jacques Rozier

#28 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 26, 2019 3:04 pm

I don't think much of Blues Jeans either, but a few months back I was doing some reading in one of the Cahiers issues from when it was released and apparently the Young Turks took it as a personal offense when the film was greeted with somewhat hostile responses from elsewhere in France (unsurprisingly the leftist critics and festival and theatre programmers didn't "get" it) and accusations of it being vulgar (which it was...)-- in a way it looks in hindsight to have been a warning shot of the coming Nouvelle Vague invasion that would soon blow open the floodgates. Perhaps this explains why it took Rozier so long to secure distribution for Adieu Philippine after filming ended. I imagine the short will probably get thrown on the Blu-ray for AP whenever the new restoration gets released, but it'd be nice to hear more about its initial response from a scholar rather than the short itself being treated as a stand-alone bonus

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Jacques Rozier

#29 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri May 31, 2019 10:34 pm

That makes a lot of sense considering the timing of its release and the nature of the films the Young Turks were already preparing to release themselves (or did Chabrol release Le Beau Serge first?) - I’ve always found Rozier’s placement and participation in the New Wave puzzling due to lack of historical information forcing attempts to fill in the blanks, but he was clearly involved with the more popular and celebrated filmmakers of the movement just looking at his various collaborative projects. I agree that more scholarly material, or general information, about Rozier during the 50s-70s, would be appreciated in some form. And are there any circulating copies of Fifi Martingale or The Blue Parrot out there? Letterboxd has no reviews for either, or even a page for the latter!

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domino harvey
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Re: Jacques Rozier

#30 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 31, 2019 10:48 pm

As I recall, like with Lola a few years earlier, part of the shoot for Adieu Philippine was made possible by Godard’s donation of film stock (and maybe he helped secure funding— I can’t remember exactly right now). And it’s worth emphasizing that Adieu Philippine graced the cover of Cahiers’ own mega issue devoted to the New Wave in 1962 (and I think the film had already graced the cover earlier in the year before it was even released), so it is about as close to a Young Turk-adjacent film as you’re going to get.

I have unsubbed copies of Fifi Martingale and Comment devenir cinéaste sans se prendre la tête recorded off French TV, but as far as I know no other Rozier works not included in the French DVD set are circulating (and I’m very interested in the short TV series Rozier made with his usual leading man, comedian Bernard Menez— Rozier actually accompanied Menez on a book tour a few years back, it would be interesting to read these memoirs for any insights into their working relationship)

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domino harvey
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Re: Jacques Rozier

#31 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:54 pm

English subs for Fifi Martingale, for which I paid way too much, are claimed and forthcoming on back channels!

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rockysds
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Re: Jacques Rozier

#32 Post by rockysds » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:42 am

Le Cinéma Club is showing a restoration of Rozier's 1962 8 minute short Dans le vent this week.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Jacques Rozier

#33 Post by zedz » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:33 pm

Thanks for the heads up. A charming short and it looks fantastic in the new restoration.

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domino harvey
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Re: Jacques Rozier

#34 Post by domino harvey » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:43 pm

And fully downloadable from the site with any of the usual Firefox add-ons, for those who want to watch it on their TV or keep a copy for when it disappears

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The Fanciful Norwegian
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
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Re: Jacques Rozier

#35 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:25 pm

You don't even need an add-on, when the site came back they dropped the Vimeo-based player they were using and it's now possible to download through a standard browser interface by just right-clicking on the video and choosing "Save Video As..." (or the equivalent command). I was pretty surprised to discover that.

dda1996a
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

Re: Jacques Rozier

#36 Post by dda1996a » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:28 pm

I totally missed it, any chance anyone here downloaded it and can share it with me?

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