Voilà, welcome to issue number five of A Newcomer’s Guide to La Nouvelle Vague! With only one more issue left, I am quite sad that the journey is almost over, but also excited to see how the movement ends! You may have noticed my name changed from Mina Anderson to Mina Tham – that is because I got married and am living in perfect bliss (well, as perfectly as COVID-19 has allowed) with my new husband! You can find anything written by me by searching for the tag ‘Mina Tham’ now.
This issue begins with Jules and Jim, directed by François Truffaut in 1962, a film based off of a semi-autobiographical book written by an old friend of Truffaut’s. The story takes a dark turn examining the true meaning behind love, and in turn, obsession. The next essay focuses on Muriel, or The Time of Return directed by Alain Resnais in 1963 which takes a look at how memories and the past can haunt us forever, even if we try to reconcile with them. The third essay is about the 1967 film Playtime directed by Jacques Tati, which is a subtle but comical film with controlled chaos that makes the story marvelously entertaining. The final issue is about Jean Luc-Godard’s 1967 film Weekend, a very violent film that also implies radical political issues. If you have a weak stomach, this film might be difficult to watch.
Playtime is the must-watch out of all the films in this issue, in my opinion, because while I do love my daily dose of existentialism, this film lets you sit back and enjoy the ride – which is a funny and well put-together Tati film. As we move towards the ending of the series, I really hope that everybody who has been reading each issue has enjoyed the journey as much as I have. Many of these films I had never seen before, so watching them was as new of an experience for me as it was for those of you reading my essays for the first time. The ending of this series doesn’t mean you should stop exploring French culture and cinema – heck, even world cinema. There are so many fascinating films out there from other cultures outside of our U.S. and Western world that i would have never come across if it weren’t for the impact of the New Wave films. There is a french proverb that goes, “Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid,” which translates to, “little by little the bird builds his nest, so keep going and building your nest of knowledge on French Culture!”