Cartographic Cinema

France can be credited as the home to the film industry. French film directors can be said to have invented the whole concept of cinema. For instance, as early as 1895, Lumiere brothers produced a 50 seconds film titled The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station and this led to pundits to name it as the first bold step in the cinema industry. They continued in their production until the First World War where they shifted focus to producing documentaries films and newsreel. However they had already laid the bedrock for the advancement of the film industry and other pioneers took it in the 1920’s. In the period, Charles Pathe emerged and was so proficient in production of moving pictures that he was christened the Napoleon of Film in France, comparing him to the Napoleon, the great political figure in France (Hortelano, 2011, p.256)

While during the First World War, the cinema industry seemed to have grounded to a halt, the period after 1920 going to 1930’s show emergence of more young film directors with so much enthusiasm in the industry. Such included Marcel Carne, Rene Clair and Jean Renoir (Conley 2007 p.166). He adds that they experimented on wide styles and cinematic themes in the process. However, France was plunged into the Second World War in 1939 which consequently led to slow down the evolution of the cinema industry. This did not pick up until 1950’s where again France show emergence of young budding film director enthusiasts who are regarded as the new wave of cinema industry. This included among other, Jacques Rivette, Jean lucques Godard, Loius Malle, Francois Truffaut and Alain Resnais. This group of film makers believed that a filmmaker show has the possession of the film without interference from either studios or producers. It is at this period, 1956, that the iconic cinema figure in France, Brigitte Bardot was discovered (Hortelano, 2011, p.257)  This paper will discuss Partie de Campagne and Les Mistons., two films made by two great film makers, Jean Renoir and Francois Truffaut respectively.

Renoir’s Partie de Campagne is a Forty minute filmwhich was produced in 1936. It is regarded as the greatest unfinished film ever made. While many films are abandoned and fail to break the ground due to unreliability of financiers or film makers own volition to abandon the project, Parte de Campagne was abandoned due to persistent bad weather (Miller, 2006, p.3). However, despite it being unfinished, it was released ten years down the line. Renoir is famed for producing films with lots of realism and satirical content (Hortelano, 2011, p.257). Just like Truffaut’s film, the film Parte de Campagne  is a romance filled film based on a story byGuy de Maupassant and the plot of the film revolves around a family that decides to take sometime in the country side. While in the village and as the men family members proceed to fishing, the mother,Jeanne Marken, is involved in a flirtation with another man from the village while her daughter, Sylvia Bataille, also get into intimacy with a babbling young man identified as George Saint-Saens. However, this being a vacation, the family left and never to return in the same place any sooner. When they did fourteen years later, so much had changed. The daughter Sylvia Bataille had already being married to a not so charming husband. The former lover, George Saint-Saens, undertook to renew the initial relationship but to no avail. They both try to catch up but the family heads to the city. Episodes on what happened were never shot as the project was abandoned (Miller, 2006, p.5)

It has been argued that the film captures the importance details of the French history, at a time when there were no hostilities, in the 1900’s. Being produced 1936, no one would ever think what lay ahead in 1939 when France was involved in the war and Paris fell in 1940. The film captures the serenity of the moment when people were relatively care- free before the world fell into disgrace (Hortelano, 2011, p.258).

On the other hand, Truffaut’s Les Mistons delves onto the lives of children. It was shot on 1957, when Truffaut was twenty five years old only. Unlike Renoir, Truffaut represents the second phase of French new wave in the cinema industry. However, the two seem to have put emphasis on the theme of love. The plot of the Truffaut’s film is based on a group of young boys who are transfixed in the love affair between Gerard and Bernadette Jouve. These boys have a strong attachment to the young lovers that they interfere with their daily romantic endeavors. They undertake to do anything that they can to disrupt the romance between them to the extent of wishing death on Gerard. So lustful they are that when the two lovers leave for the country side to play tennis and whenever the ball went out of bound, they rush to collect it and hand it over to her. They had a fetistic affection to her. Gerald understandably is not amused even a bit by this and whenever he found the boys spying on them, he would unleash severe punishment on them.

In retaliation, the boys would send her ancient post card with two lovers, attempting to show her that she is not getting the best from Gerald. And as fate would have it, Gerald got injured during a mountain climbing outing and subsequently passes on. Burial procedures proceed immediately as suggested by a small episode shot in a church and as a result, the girl is removed from the boys’ life. Some time later, as the summer comes to a close, and as the film comes to a close, the boys locate the lady walking down the street lost in thoughts and grief written all over her and the masterpiece comes to a close (Dixon,2006, p.5)

The film was the foundation of what Truffaut would be viewed in future as a romanticist. He attempted to make the film as sensuous as possible using affects such as reverse motion and slow motion in for instance the scene where Gerald is seen kissing Bernadette on the balcony (Dixon, 2006, p.6). Just like his hero Renoir, the shooting of the film was grounded for some time, as the cast took a ten days break and came back to continue as if nothing had happened. Being twenty five years then, it captures the moment of the time as it displays his love for the youth and the heterosexual relationships. It being shot in black and white does not diminish it feel. It adequately captures the serenity of the summer time and the bouncy and energy of the youthful age (Hortelano, 2011, p.258).

Truffaut’s creatively is portrayed in the fact that no one boy stands out as the main play and hence they could be used interchangeably to play their role of admiration. So well was the synchronization that any boy chosen to appear on the scene would be seen to be representative of the entire idea of all boys’ infatuation (Conley 2007 p.166). This is based on his approach in acquiring the cast where he conducted interviews with boys in the age bracket eleven and fourteen, where he was looking for raw talent and best fits into the cast rather than their theatrical experience. His desire to grow and uplift the young people saw him recruit a young person for the position of director of production Dixon, 2006, p.5).

On the other hand, Renoir also managed to convey his message on the ‘frailty of human nature, the uncertain journey of human heart and the inevitability of passion taking over convectional social mores and the mutability of love’ (Miller, 2006, p.4).


From the discussion above, it becomes apparent that both films can be categorized as short films. Yet they captured all the essence of a full blown film. Though both the films are short, the writers have been able to capture the theme ad impression intended. They were shot at a time when commercialization of film was not entrenched and as such, they are as authentic as they can be. In addition, coverage of the films was done in the natural setting using not so advanced technology and hence, they have both been regarded as masterpieces up-to-date.

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