nziff ’10: Two in the Wave (Deux de la Vague)
Dir. Emmanuel Laurent | France | 2009 | 93 mins.
A history of the Nouvelle Vague as it sloshed around its two principal figures, François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. Directed and written by film historians, and expertly compiled from many hours’ worth of archival footage, the documentary begins with the former director’s Les quatre cents coups winning the Palme d’Or in 1959, and from there moves to Godard’s À bout de souffle and the various other films and filmmakers prominent in the period.
Although it focuses largely on the two key figures, their place in the movement and their power as filmmakers and critics is magnetic enough to have anyone else important be caught up in orbit around them. The documentary’s scant, rightly derisive coverage of Godard’s post-1968 films might disappoint some viewers, but this isn’t what the film aims to talk about — and, in any case, it’s made up for by a lengthy discussion of the correspondence between the two throughout the post-Wave period.
Two in the Wave will most likely be relegated to DVD sometime next year.