Two in the Wave
In French with subtitles. This mildly intriguing documentary follows the dynamics of the evolving friendship between Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, two pioneers of the French New Wave. Both of them wrote articles for the French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema, founded back in 1951, where they serves as film critics and theorists. Truffaut grew up as a child from the lower class while Godard came from a middle class family. When Truffaut’s classic French New Wave film, The 400 Blows, wowed audiences at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959 and won the Best Director’s prize, Truffaut’s career in filmmaking as a writer/director ignited like wildfire. It was ironic for him to win the Best Director’s award and that his film was selected to compete in Cannes to begin with because Truffaut had often criticized the Cannes Film Festival in his articles. Truffaut is responsible for influencing some of Godard’s own filmmaking decisions. For instance, Godard ending his film Breathless with a freeze-frame scene which pays homage to The 400 Blow’s similar free-frame scene---which won’t be spoiled here for those who haven’t seen the either of those classic films, but please note that Two in the Wave features footage of those two endings. Truffaut, in fact, served as the screenwriter of Breathless. Both were influenced by the cinematography of Ingmar Bergman’s Summer with Monica, especially when it comes to precisely how Bergman filmed Monika’s body so sensually. Truffaut and Godard also protested together to try to save Henri Langlois’ career at the Cinemathèque Française in 1968. When their ideologies and stubbornness led them both to drift apart and cease their friendship forever, the French New Wave died down not surprisingly. Director Emmanuel Laurent does a decent job of coherently informing the audience about how Truffaut and Godard’s friendship transpired throughout the years, but there’s simply not enough analysis and revelations to be found here. Some of the footage and archival interviews---such as an interview between Godard and Hitchcock---are fascinating and even somewhat amusing to watch. However, there are no new or provocative insights offered because Laurent instead offers merely a reader’s digest version of the events which overemphasize that obvious point that Godard and Truffaut’s friendship as filmmakers helped to fuel the French New Wave. At a running time of 1 hour and 33 minutes, Two in the Wave is marginally intriguing, easy-to-follow and stylishly edited, but it barely scratches the surface of its topic and leaves avid film buffs hungry for more thorough, revealing explorations and analyses.