La Pointe Courte  

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"Agnès Varda was influenced by the philosophy of Gaston Bachelard, under whom she had once studied at the Sorbonne. "She was particularly interested in his theory of 'l'imagination des matières,' in which certain personality traits were found to correspond to concrete elements in a kind of psychoanalysis of the material world." This idea finds expression in La Pointe Courte as the characters' personality traits clash, shown through the opposition of objects such as wood and steel." --Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

La Pointe Courte is a 1955 French drama film directed by Agnès Varda. This feature film was Varda's debut, and has been cited by many critics as a forerunner of the French New Wave. The film takes place in Sète in the south of France. The Pointe Courte is a tiny quarter of the town known as the fisherman's village.

Contents

Plot

A young man (Philippe Noiret) arrives at a train station to see his wife. After four years of marriage the couple are having problems of a somewhat existential nature—the wife loves her husband, but is thinking of leaving him (he had an affair some time back, but her problem is not jealousy so much as questioning the very nature of love itself). The couple discuss their lives, and become resigned to the fact that they belong together, even if their love has changed. They return to Paris, the wife now better understanding her husband's nature because she's seen his hometown. As this drama unfolds, we see the lives of the poor but proud people living there; fishermen wanting to harvest shellfish from a small lagoon they have been forbidden to use because of an alleged problem with bacteria, a small child dies of an unknown illness, a young man wins the right to court the 16-year-old daughter of a neighbor, after proving himself in a local aquatic jousting tournament.

Production

Varda originally visited La Pointe Courte to take pictures for a friend who could no longer visit her home. After seeing the footage she took there, she rented a camera to shoot a film about a couple from Paris who were visiting La Pointe Courte, the husband's home town. Varda set up her own co-op and began production. The budget for the film was low-budget costing $14,000; roughly one fourth the budget of other feature films of the era including The 400 Blows and Breathless. No members of the cast or crew were paid during the production.

Themes

In a 1962 interview, Varda spoke of two present themes in the film with "the first being a couple reconsidering their relationship and a village that is trying to resolve several collective problems of survival".

Release

The Paris premiere of the film was in 1956 at the Studio Parnasse. It played with Jean Vigo's documentary film À propos de Nice (1930). The Criterion Collection has released the film in a 4 DVD Region 1 box-set.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "La Pointe Courte" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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