Washington State University Le Samourai Film Discussion.
1. BOB LE FLAMBEUR
Bob le Flambeur is, at once, a charming entertainment, a resonant character study, an ironic morality tale, and a bittersweet celebration of Montmartre.
ESSAY QUESTION: Discuss each of these FOUR characteristics of Melville’s film, Bob le Flambeur. Identify at least two specific scenes from the film as a basis for each of the four characteristics.
2. JULES ET JIM
Dennis Schwartz of Ozus’ World Movie Reviews (1/2/2007) wrote of Jules et Jim: “Conventional is not a word that describes François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim. Everything about this film defies expectation, taunts tradition and redefines the language of cinema. Like all great experiments, it has its flaws. Like all tests of talent and tenacity, it’s astounding. …It easily takes its place as one of the benchmarks of modern moviemaking.”
ESSAY QUESTION: Identify and discuss at least THREE “Nouvelle Vague/New Wave” “non-conventional” and innovative elements that Truffaut introduced in this film. Provide and discuss at least three specific examples/scenes from the film (one per New Wave element you identified) to support your analysis of the New Wave elements of the film (innovative / non-conventional is considered one concept or characteristic, so you will write about three scenes in total).
3. HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR
Don Druker wrote on January 1, 2000 in the Chicago Reader, “Integrating past and present, poetic images and documentary footage, music and Marguerite Duras’ dialogue, [Hiroshima mon amour] achieved a structural balance of such emotional and intellectual power that audiences were stunned.”
ESSAY QUESTION: Identify and discuss pairs of specific scenes that you feel best demonstrate the “structural balance” between: (a) past and present; (b) poetic image and documentary footage; and (c) music and dialogue. You will write about one pair of scenes for EACH of a, b, and c.
4. LE SAMOURAI
Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote on 20 May 2003 that “[Melville’s cinematic] style remains haunting and elegantly spare, just right for the kind of hit man who lives in silence, in bare and colorless surroundings, with a lonely caged bird.”
ESSAY QUESTION: Identify and discuss the “ways in which the director creates a style that evokes this “haunting and elegantly spare” quality, the sense of the “outsider” in the character of Jef, and the vacuity of his life (apart from what is mentioned in the quote above). Provide and discuss at least three specific examples/scenes from the film to support your analysis.