Two in the Wave: JLG vs. Truffaut

An anniversary present for the French New Wave, this doc gives the gift of received wisdom as it recounts the erstwhile friendship of film critics–cum–directors François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. With the chronology jumping about a bit, we go through their first meeting as teenagers attending Parisian cine-clubs, their back-to-back debut successes, then the later divergence of Godard’s global-political radicalism and Truffaut’s more personal vision, ending abruptly with their acrimonious 1973 letter exchange, the “Takeover”/”Ether” of cinephilia. (Truffaut’s classic kiss-off to JLG: “…you’re the Ursula Andress of militancy.”) We hear from the subjects and their shared star, Jean-Pierre Léaud, as seen in archival footage and interviews—catnip enough for those susceptible to the romance of the period, though these figures have hardly been neglected up to now. Almost all the res t of the commentary comes from critic and Truffaut biographer Antoine de Baecque, writer and narrator here. Director Emmanuel Laurent extends de Baecque’s essay with clips from Truffaut and Godard films (diminished in HD) and, rather than new interviews with contemporaries, footage of an attractive actress (Isild Le Besco) flipping through old photos and looking pensively at the entrance of the old Cinématheque Française.