Friday, October 26, 2007

Claude LeLouch

Since I have never taken a film history or film theory class, I'll excuse myself from not knowing Claude LeLouch or his films, though I am now inclined to learn about him after he spoke this afternoon in the Wechsler Auditorium at the School of Communication on American University's campus this afternoon (three of his films now reside in my Netflix queue). But, what struck me were some of the things he said, which were undeniably French.

What does that mean? Something that in the American culture that would be regarded as outrageous or romantic. For instance, after declaring that he was a self-taught filmmaker, he said "the only school I ever attended was the school of failure." Later he stated that "the only life worth living is one of suffering."

Of course I am paraphrasing, but there is great profundity in what he said. There is also something that, out of context, is truly worth rolling your eyes over. I recall saying similar saccharine sentiments when I was in high school, and looking back, it was no wonder I could hardly get a date to the movies. Sure, back then I wasn't 70 or French (Okay, fine... 69, his birthday is in 4 days). Last I checked, I'm still neither.

Another thing he stated was in response to a what if question he received from the moderator: what if he were to make an adaptation of his 1966 film, A Man and a Woman, how would it be different?

He didn't answer the question directly. That is to say, he talked about the difference between 1966 and 2007. Back then a letter would take 8 days to go from lover to lover, with an 8 day wait on the return. Today you can send 15 text messages, have a dozen phone calls. A relationship can begin and end in 48 hours, with no sense of mystery or romance - no chase. An interesting concept.

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