Sunday, 12 October 2008

Ascenseur Pour l’Échafaud (Louis Malle, 1958)

Florence: “Je t’ai perdu dans cette nuit Julien… Mais il faut que tu reviennes. Il faut que tu sois là, vivant, à côté de moi… Julien… il faut, il faut…"

Florence (a gorgeous Jeanne Moreau) is walking alone along the half deserted Paris boulevards. We can hear Miles Davis trumpet. Its sound is cold, somewhat distant, cutting the Paris night. She walks the dim-lit, damp streets from café to café in search of his lover who will not appear.
Florence is looking for Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet). Julien has killed his employer – and Florence’s husband - Simon Carala (Jean Wall).
The two of them had planned the perfect crime making it look as if it was a suicide. But Julien gets caught in an elevator and his car is stolen by a young dissatisfied couple who want to live fast… (this film was made just two years before Godard filmed “À Bout de Souffle”).
The “nouvelle vague” directors were admirers of the American film noir and they created some gems of the genre with some “European” touches. Louis and Véronique, he young couple, remind us of those doomed fugitives in the movies of the 30s and 40s but with something of an existentialist emptiness.

Louis: “Reveille-toi, on se’n va…”
Véronique: “Mais Louis, tu es fou?”