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A monthly focus on the profound impact of film. Visual researcher Jaja Hargreaves selects her three titles



Pierrot Le Fou (1966) Jean-Luc Godard

Pierrot le Fou follows the adventures of countercultural Ferdinand (Belmondo), fleeing a luxurious, consumerist bourgeois existence, and Marianne (Karina), his free-spirited lover, in their escapades through the South of France en route to a romantic utopia they never find. The film is a masterpiece on a number of levels: the subtle abstraction supplied by the red, white and blue color scheme (the colors of the French flag, of course); the postmodern ease with which it mixes and matches aesthetics, politics, musical numbers, high and low cultural references, from Louis-Ferdinand Céline to children’s comic books. Simply genius. 

La Boum (1980) Claude Pinoteau

A cult French teen film of the eighties. La Boum automatically conjures a range of images and associations, including the beautiful face of Sophie Marceau who plays Vic, a 14 year old girl dealing with the experience of youth: first love, the divorce of her parents, friendship and moving to a new town, Paris. In this role, she crystallized the attitudes and anxieties of teenagers in France at the time. Historians of French cinema may be slow or reluctant in appreciating this film but I think it captures something essential of the early eighties in Paris.

A Nos Amours (1983) Maurice PialaLa

A coming-of-age movie set in the early eighties Paris and made with the wisdom a of a lived life. A tender, realistic and sometimes violent portrait of youth in bloom and the dissolution of a family. Sandrine Bonnaire plays Suzanne, she’s 16 and men exist. Lovers, an overbearing brother and the father who abandons the family (portrayed by director Maurice Pialat himself). She’s a free spirit grappling with sexuality, emotion and family. She searches for oblivion in sex. Bonnaire’s performance is powerful and impressive. 

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