Friday, March 20, 2015

The Complete Works of Jean Vigo

Jean Vigo was a surrealist French director whose life was cut short by tuberculosis at 29, but whose limited body of work (consisting of only four films, one of which was feature length) not only provided a window of what could have been and served as a major influence for the future of world cinema, but stands quite sturdily, in their own offbeat and lightly poetic way. His debut film was A Propos de Nice, a fascinating documentary covering all walks of life in Nice and was probably inspired by the landmark Man with a Movie Camera. It was followed by Taris, a brilliant and innovative instructional film featuring the eponymous swim champion, which was succeeded by Zero for Conduct, a whimsical tale detailing a boarding school rebellion. L'Atalante, his final and most cited and cherished work, tells a breezy and aimless story about newlyweds travelling upriver with a gruff riverboat captain, and features amusing situations, likable performances, and some great cinematography.