I first came into contact with Truffaut when watching his 1976 film Small Change, but Jules and Jim is probably one of the director’s most famous pictures. Truffaut’s use of numerous cinematic techniques is astonishing, giving Jules and Jim a revolutionary feel. Using frequent Godard collaborator Raoul Coutard turns out to be the right move, too, as his use of lightweight cameras helps guide this tale of a three-way romance through its paces.
Pontecorvo’s Kapò is a haunting picture about the Holocaust. It can be heavy viewing, sure, but it’s also essential in its steady resolve. Pontecorvo was an unapologetically political director and his daring take on the Holocaust is unforgettable because the Italian director refuses to turn away when so many others would have. To say that this movie is “unblinking” would be an understatement, but it’s Susan Strasberg as Edith who really draws the eye.
Forman’s Loves of a Blonde is billed as one of the “defining films of Czech New Wave.” Forman probably had more fame and success as a filmmaker in America, but his work here still earned him an Academy Award nomination. The movie is broken into three segments and follows Andula (Hanu Brejchovou) through the entire process of romance. Forman’s Loves of a Blonde could be considered a quaint film, light as it is, but it’s really almost a straightforward comedy of romantic error. Always tinged with cynicism, Loves of a Blonde is a delight.
As you can see, Essential Art House Vol. 5 packs a wallop. For those looking for an introduction to art house cinema, this is a great place to start. I maintain that this is one of the most diverse, interesting box sets in the series thus far and believe this set belongs in the library of any serious film lover.