Saturday, March 13, 2010

#188: Love on the Run

(Francois Truffaut, 1979)

I'm falling in love with Francois Truffaut. It really started years ago, with Jules and Jim, but my lukewarm reaction to The 400 Blows put it off for a few years. I also like Day for Night a lot, though I think I need to see it again. The Doinel series has renewed that love affair, though, and Love on the Run was where I really knew it. After all, this isn't that good of a movie. It relies a little too much on flashbacks, like a later edition of the 7 Up series, and the relationship between Doinel and his latest love interest doesn't seem as realistic and charming as his earlier relationships. In fact, a series that started out with one of the grittiest looks at childhood is now a romantic fantasy that almost certainly influenced Amelie.

But what really made me realize how much I need Truffaut in my life were the little things. The moment when Colette is thumbing through Doinel's book and there are images of characters from previous films superimposed on the pages. The incredible scene between Colette and Christine, the two loves of Antoine's life. Finally, and most importantly, the credit sequence at the end of the movie, where the film flashes back and forth between the two couples embracing.

Truffaut has said he didn't like this movie, and the reputation of the film indicates that most people agree with him. Yet Love on the Run is still a very rewarding watch, and not just because you have to see the story come to its conclusion. It's still extremely depressing to see Christine and Doinel divorced, but it's essential to the continued notion that Antoine is unable to change, which is both infuriating and the only reason why Truffaut would continue to make the films. And the other pieces - the reunion of Antoine and Colette, Antoine's encounter with an old lover of his mother, Alphonse as a child - are all extremely satisfying. I'll have more thoughts on the whole series later.

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