j’ai fini le demenager!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jane Fonda bathes with wench-serf Carla Marlier in Spirits Of The Dead (Histoires Extraordinaires, 1968)
Zazie dans le Metro (1960), dir. Louis Malle
Zazie dans le metro (1960) directed by Louis Malle and based on the novel by Raymond Queneau.
#570 Zazie dans le Metro (dir. Louis Malle) 1960.
The Film: The first thing you have to know about Zazie dans le Metro is that it’s complete and utter madness, the sort of lunacy that’s been normalized into extinction. If Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Roy Andersson all shared the same meth bong (that’s a thing, apparently), Zazie dans le Metro is the movie you’d find in their backwash. Louis Malle, only 28 and already the director of two critically successful features, was by 1960 as frustrated with the stultifying bourgeois precepts of filmmaking as the rest of his buddies in the French New Wave. Yet rather than channel that discontent into a work of liberated rage (Godard’s Breathless) or free-form poignancy (Truffaut’s The 400 Blows), Malle decided to bend the cinema backwards upon itself, twisting film’s oldest tricks into a carnival of manic nonsense that eventually perverts Paris from a fashionable funhouse to a suffocating dystopia that must be escaped. And if you didn’t have the energy to make it through that sentence in one breath, good luck with Zazie.
Zazie is a precocious and irrepressible 12 year-old girl from the countryside who’s coming to stay with her uncle Gabriel for the weekend. All she wants to do is ride the metro, but there’s a strike and the subways are shuttered. Zazie, bummed by the news, decides to tour the city in her own way — zaniness ensues. Adapting Raymond Queneau’s hyper-personal and supposedly unfilmmable novel, Malle uses every bit of visual gimmickry he can in order to repurpose Queneau’s words as the stuff of live-action pandemonium.
Malle’s film sweats with a fevered visual wit, and the graphic contributions of burgeoning iconoclast William Klein afford Zazie’s Paris the scheme of impossible pop perfection that would define the city for years to come. Moreover, the production’s unfettered access to the metropolis result in a number of inimitable sequences that will absolutely blow your mind — the scene in which Zazie and Gabriel scale the Eiffel Tower is simply one of the most incredible things ever committed to film, accomplishing for France’s capital what Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams does for the nation’s caves. In fact, the set-piece is so astounding that the rest of Zazie feels flat and tiresome in its wake. Your eyes begin to glaze over the visual hysteria exactly when Malle intends to make the modern city look like a charmless cesspool of noise — not only is the film an accurate simulacrum of a child’s take on the adult world, but it also evinces a critical understanding of a child’s fleeting interest, and how quickly wonder can be supplanted by a violent malaise.
The Technical Stuff: Unfortunately I was only able to see Zazie dans le Metro on DVD, so I can’t comment on the inevitably superior Blu-ray presentation. The flick looks just fine in standard definition, a clean transfer with a charmingly soft feel and no obvious deficiencies.
The Extras: Zazie dans le Metro is rather stuffed with perfunctory bonus materials. To begin with, there are brief, animated interviews with Malle and Zazie herself, Catherine Demongeot. Raymond Queneau William Klein, and Jean-Paul Rappeneau all pop up to shed some light on the adaptation, as well.
The Best Bit: A feature called “Le Paris de Zazie,” in which Malle’s assistant director Philippe Colin leads a guided tour of the film’s Parisian locations in the exuberant spirit of the movie, itself. Zazie’s Paris was a myth, but this light-hearted walkthrough nicely illustrates how it was carved from the city we’ve always known.
The Artwork: A vaguely twisted caricature of Zazie (looking like Alfred E. Newman’s French sister) against an oppressive blue backdrop, the cover art appealingly belies the film’s unbridled energy. It’s an odd and impish design, appropriately suggesting that the film is both winking and wicked in equal measure.
The Verdict: A crazed oddity with enough energy to entertain audiences of all ages, Zazie dans le Metro is a vital chapter in the fascinating career of Louis Malle, and a film worthy of critical reappraisal. Francophiles and fans of modern hyper-kinetic maestros like Edgar Wright should eat this up.
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Louis Malle realizing nearly all his films take place in nearly the same amount of time
Zazie dans le metro (Louis Malle, 1960)
Well this looks to be pretty accurate.