Ode to Jean-Pierre Léaud - Page 2

Another look at the eternal boy of the French new wave

As Hawker puts it, "Léaud's performance — in which his character gradually finds himself out of his depth, devastated, in which a carefully constructed masculinity proves insufficient to the messy demands and challenges placed on it by two women — is painful to watch, but it's also fascinating to see him going quietly, as it were." Considering the film's theme — the death of a liberated era, as exemplified by the impossibility of a healthy love triangle — one cannot avoid feeling that the end of Léaud's character signifies the conclusion of one of recent European history's most volatile and important periods.

Léaud's iconic status figures as an undercurrent in his more recent appearances in films such as Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers (2003), Aki Kaurismäki's La Vie de Bohème (1992), and especially Olivier Assayas's Irma Vep (1996). In casting Léaud as an old French director whose heyday is long past and who is hopelessly trying to create a remake of Louis Feuillade's Les Vampires (1915), Assayas joins the actor in winking sympathetically at the now-idolized and perhaps idealized past he represents — a time of general excitement and experimentation, when everything seemed possible and cinema was daring.


Jan. 18–Feb. 19, $5.50–$9.50

Pacific Film Archive

2575 Bancroft, Berk.

(510) 642-1412


Also from this author

  • Hurting herders

    Tuya's Marriage comments on capitalism

  • Frameline 32: Sex changes

    Two views of Be Like Others

  • Frameline 32: Anti-pity party

    A Horse is not a Metaphor is not a disease film

  • Also in this section

  • Con and on

    Thrilling, stylish Highsmith adaptation 'The Two Faces of January'

  • Cel mates

    Mill Valley Film Festival screens vintage and innovative animated features

  • Bridgeworthy

    More Mill Valley Film Festival picks