Saturday, March 14, 2015

Zazie dans le metro

Based on the novel by Raymond Queneau, Zazie dans le metro (Zazie in the Metro) is the story of a young girl who arrives to the city of Paris under the care of her uncle where she would create all sorts of chaos in the span of a weekend. Directed by Louis Malle and screenplay by Malle and Jean-Paul Rappeneau, the film is an exploration into the world of a young girl who causes havoc in the city of Paris. Starring Catherine Demongeot and Philippe Noiret. Zazie dans le metro is an extremely nutty yet exhilarating film from Louis Malle.

The film is a simple story about a young girl who arrives in Paris to spend the weekend with her uncle where she turns the city upside down and more as all she wanted to do is ride the metro as its service is currently on strike. That’s pretty much all there is as it’s a film with very little plot as it all relates to this young girl named Zazie (Catherine Demongeot) who creates chaos in her surroundings as she often asks questions about everything around her. Yet, some of the adult figures she would meet would annoy her as she would in turn create hell for them. The film doesn’t have much of a script as it does have a few subplots as it relates to Zazie’s uncle (Philippe Noiret), a bar maid, a rich widow, an annoyed cop, and all sorts of characters whom Zazie would encounter and bring craziness to their lives.

Louis Malle’s direction is definitely stylish as he goes for something that seems to resemble elements of what can be described as a live-action cartoon. Much of it involves some very zany chase sequences where Zazie would steal a pair of blue jeans as a man chase her all over Paris as it’s among the slew of comical moments in the film. Malle definitely goes for something that feels loose as the city of Paris serves as a playground of sorts that includes some very off-the-wall moments shot on the Eiffel tower where Malle shoots on top of the elevators or other moments as if they’re doing dangerous things on that landmark. There’s also these moments that Malle creates with his usage of close-ups and medium shots that add to the sense of anarchy that is prevalent to the film that includes a chaotic party where the fourth wall is eventually broken. Overall, Malle creates a very sensational and insane film about a young girl turning Paris upside down in the span of a weekend.

Cinematographer Henri Raichi does amazing work with the film‘s very colorful cinematography to capture the beauty of the many locations in Paris as well as the lights for some of its nighttime scenes and some stylish ones for its interior settings. Editor Kenout Peltier does brilliant work by utilizing lots of stylish takes on jump-cuts to add a sense of energy as well as play to the film‘s offbeat humor. Production designer Bernard Evein does nice work with the set design with the look of the café that Zazie‘s uncle lives above at as well as the club where he works.

Costume designer Marc Doelnitz does excellent work with the costumes from the colorful clothes that Zazie wears to the stylish clothes of the adult characters. The sound work of Andre Hervee is superb for some of the sound effects that is created as well as the raucous atmosphere it creates in some of the film‘s crazier moments. The film’s music by Fiorenzo Carpi is fantastic for its very upbeat and bouncy orchestral score that plays to the film’s humor and sense of exuberance as it also features some low-key classical pieces and pop cuts.

The film’s phenomenal cast includes some notable small roles from Odette Piquet as Zazie’s mother, Antoine Roblot as a cab driver named Charles, Annie Fratellini as the barmaid Mado whom Charlie is in love with, Hubert Deschamps as the landlord who really doesn’t like Zazie, Yvonne Clech as a widow who falls for the cop, and. Jacques Dufilho as the shoemaker who lives next door to the café. Carla Marlier is wonderful as Zazie’s aunt Albertine who is a dressmaker while Vittorio Caprioli is amazing as the cop/salesman Trouscaillon who meets with Zazie as he becomes a victim of her own misadventures. Philippe Noiret is excellent as Zazie’s uncle Gabriel as a man who is trying to hide his line of work from Zazie while coping with the chaos surrounding him. Finally, there’s Catherine Demongeot in an incredible performance as Zazie as this curious and lively young girl who turns Paris into her own playground as she creates a lot of chaos while all she wants to do is to ride the Paris metro.

Zazie dans le metro is a spectacular film from Louis Malle. The film is truly an out-of-this-world comedy that isn’t afraid to be silly while providing laughs due to a young girl roaming around Paris. The film isn’t just one of Malle’s more accessible films but also a key film of the French New Wave that appeals to a very wide audience. In the end, Zazie dans le metro is a tremendously fun film from Louis Malle.

Louis Malle Films: (The Silent World) - Elevator to the Gallows - The Lovers (1958 film) - (A Very Private Affair) - (Vive Le Tour) - The Fire Within - (Bons baisers de Bangkok) - (Viva Maria!) - (The Thief of Paris) - Spirits of the Dead-William Wilson - (Phantom India) - (Calcutta) - Murmur of the Heart - (Humain, Trop Humain) - Lacombe, Lucien - Place de la Republique - Black Moon - (Close Up (1976 short) - (Dominique Sanda ou Le reve eveille) - Pretty Baby - Atlantic City (1980 film) - (My Dinner with Andre) - Crackers - God’s Country (1985 film) - (Alamo Bay) - (And the Pursuit of Happiness) - Au Revoir Les Enfants - (May Fools) - (Damage (1992 film)) - (Vanya on 42nd Street)

© thevoid99 2015

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