Like a Hollywood B western directed by a French outsider artist, Luc Moullet’s psychotropic oater stars Jean-Pierre Léaud as Billy the Kid in a wild comic performance that’s equal parts Clint Eastwood and the Three Stooges. The fractured-beyond-recognition plot finds the bandit on the run from the law through a rocky desert wasteland with a seductive and possibly duplicitous woman (Rachel Kesterber) in tow. Set to a shivery, avant–cold wave soundtrack (complete with titular theme song), it all climaxes in a delirious Duel in the Sun-meets-acid-freak-out finale.
*Note that we are showing the English-dubbed version.
Santa Claus Has Blue Eyes / Le père Noël a les yeux bleus
Jean Eustache, France, 1966, 35mm, 53m
French with English subtitles
Eustache made his second film with 35mm black-and-white stock left over from Godard’s Masculin féminin, and he also used that film’s star, Jean-Pierre Léaud. But where Godard’s film is a snapshot of Parisian youths with time on their hands, Eustache’s is about a poor young man in the provinces, specifically the filmmaker’s hometown of Narbonne. Léaud’s performance is closely scaled and intimate, with Eustache emphasizing daily reality: how he spends his time, his efforts to meet girls, his attempts to make money. After his friend engages him to dress up as Santa Claus for the holiday season and have his pictures taken with passersby, Daniel is given a different vision of Narbonne and its inhabitants. Print courtesy of the Institut Français.