In picturesque Paris, the young students, Charlotte and Véronique, share a small apartment, interested only in their studies. However, little do they know that at Le Jardin du Luxembourg, Patrick, a charming pickup artist, will manage to seduce them both, of course, behind each other's backs. Under those circumstances, how is this blind double date going to end up?Written by
underrated by the other reviewers on IMDb; this is as fresh an early cinematic collaboration one can hope for
Considering what I read about this little short film, the first directed by Jean-Luc Godard and one of the first, if not the first, scribed by Eric Rohmer, I thought this was just going to be a stupid, amateurish piece of fluff. As it turns out, Charlotte and Veronique or All the Boys Are Called Patrick is like a small little quasi-template for the stylistic and romantic attitudes of the French New Wave via Cashiers du Cinema. It's naturally un-polished and a little too quick to leave as lasting an impact as some of the other films Godard and Rohmer would make, but it also features some of their best qualities on display with the energy and liveliness of rebel filmmakers squarely in their youth. For one thing, the criticism of film at the time is slipped in well enough for any film geek to savor- like the newspaper headline one reads at a table that says "French cinema is dying under the weight of false legends"- which includes some minor hints of the convention-breaking camera angles (who says we need to see a person talking to one in a over-the-shoulder, or head on, angle anyway).
And for me, unlike another commenter on this page, I didn't think it was necessarily more Rohmer than Godard. The sense of rapid-fire ease in getting realistic dialog regarding those of the opposite sex is there, to be sure, but there's a sense of rhythm that comes out in the dialog that wouldn't be found right away in Rohmer; actually, if anything, the whole rapport between Patrick with the two girls he courts reminded me of the pushy yet "cool" way that Belmondo had about him in Breathless. And the street photography out in Paris shows Godard being already unequivocal in his mastery of capturing the outside world in a unique style- that too is sort of a stylistic template for the Nouvelle Vague. And while it ends on a fairly obvious note- what Patrick really is after all the build-up of Charlotte and Veronique talking about 'their' Patrick- it nevertheless delivers on bringing some light and breezy times by way of hip filmmakers testing their chops on scripting the basics with character and getting down what it is to make the outside world into a form of poetry.
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