Two in the Wave ★★½

Two in the Wave was a title expiring on Netflix, and nothing riles up my wife like missing something that we could have gotten for free; in other words, I was kind of corralled into the watch. My reservations because I’m hot and cold on French New Wave. Some I love, some I hate, and some are on the wire. Truffaut I love, and, having only seen Breathless, I was still on the wire about Goddard.

While some interesting tidbits about the beginning of the movement were put forth, they were delivered in the driest and most simple of ways; a narrator telling a story with inexplicable shots of actress Isild Le Besco ( had to look it up ) rather dispassionately flipping through old clippings about the two, but contributes nothing else .. not a word. I’ve been trying to see what connection she has to either Goddard or Truffeut, or French New Wave for that matter, but seem to be coming up empty. While clips of their respective works were frequent, they were never given context. For example, there were many cinematographic technical achievements Goddard came up with in Breathless ( use of still camera high speed film, use of jump cuts for effect, etc ) that were never even alluded to.

The documentary only reinforced the feelings I had going in. Truffaut makes films from the heart, and his difficult and modest upbringing pours out onto the screen. Goddard, on the other hand, comes across as an arrogant dick raised from a moneyed environment to lead a charge for politicized filmmaking, and disparaged all those who didn’t, including his former friend Truffaut. I think this quote speaks volumes [regarding Truffaut]: ”He didn't forgive me for thinking his films were worthless. He also suffered from not ending up finding my films as worthless as I thought his own were.”

I didn’t hate it, but for a documentary about such passionate and inventive subjects, it was rather pedestrian.

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