Message from: robin
About: la premiere scene

Fri, 20 Mar 1998 00:59:28 -0500

There were many differences between the two versions
of the movie that became apparent in the first scene. First,
the American movie was much brighter; the party scene was
full of light and loud conversation, and the appartment was
brightly-painted. The French version, in contrast, was full
of artsy cinemetography and was much darker, with low music
and inaudible conversation. This difference in ambience
continues through both films.

A more significant difference is that the American
version spells out, in the first scene, exactly who each
of the characters is and what their roles are in the
plot: Jack is a womanizer and an actor, Michael is a "sensitive
guy," and Peter is the all-around good guy with the steady
girlfriend, and Rebecca is the stready girlfriend. The French
film, on the other hand, leaves all of the characters except
for Jaques entirely amibiguous. This seems to be a trend in
American vs. French films - American movies spoon-feed the
plot to the audience; French movies purposefully leave parts
of the movie vague, and leave it up to the audience to
figure out what the characters are feeling or thinking.

The other important difference that I noted between the
films, even just in this first scene, was that the American
movie made an effort to be more socially-correct. For example,
it is made clear in the American movie that Jack's relationship
with the guy who turns out to be a drug dealer is purely
professional (as if he wouldn't acually be _friends_ with
someone like that), while the dealer in the French movie
seems to be just a friend. Also, (although both movies
were exploitative towards women) the French movie was much
more blatant - note how Jaques left the note for the other
two men with the girl's name, phone number, and an 'X' to
show how "worthwhile" she was.

I haven't watched enough French movies to know if these
are common trends in French film in general. Do these
observations apply to other movies as well?