Even that Jean Vigo's production is one of the smallest ones in the history of cinema, many film historians see him as one of the greatest filmmaker ever lived. He only had the time to make four films before his death in 1934, two of them are very well known. Zéro de conduite: Jeunes diables au collège (1933) and L'Atalante (1934), the latter is often seen as the most beautiful film ever made. It's also his only full lenght film. The other two films by him are a bit more rare, a documentary about the winning swimmer, Jean Taris: Jean Taris, Swimming Champion (1931) and his first film À propos de Nice (1930). The film is about a French coastal town - it is amazing how someone cann tell everything in less than a half an hour.
It's hard to picture anyone else to make this film, but Jean Vigo. He knows just where to put the camera and when. À propos de Nice is a very intense portrait of a city, colored with black humor. It basically shows social injustice that lies in the city of pleasures. There are many lyrical realizations in À propos de Nice, for instance the gambling, the sea and the shore. The documentary plays very beautifully like a poem, like Francois Truffaut has said "Jean Vigo effortlessly reached poetry". But the lyricism isn't the only poetic thing in À propos de Nice, it has also got poetic realism and surrealistic visions.
The gambling shown in À propos de Nice is actually very interesting, why is it shown? I've read somewhere interpretations, which say that it shows the economical order, which is based on coincidence, cheating and inhumanity. The antithesis of the richness and poverty is one of the most interesting things in this film. Somewhere in the city people crafts products with their hands, they still have the touch to their products to their work. But then Jean Vigo shows the other side, the Nizza of gambling places and carnivals, where the moral and mental death lies.
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