Tornatore - Truffaut - Nostalgia in European Films
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Tornatore and Truffaut – Nostalgia in European Film within Film

The nostalgia and importance of life are so well reflected through cinema, and the impassioned film endeavours of the Europeans powerfully echo the beauty and pathos of everyday living and community. The colourful tasting menu that Italian and French films offer and resemble holds cinematic versatility, a career in cinema for those who wish to soulfully express themselves.

Thus, for a movie to be about movies themselves is a dreamy cultural comment on the human condition. François Truffaut’s and Giuseppe Tornatore’s masterworks Day For Night (1973) and Cinema Paradiso (1988)show us pain and pleasure – our spirit and passion for purpose overtaking any measure within our art.

Where film holds ideas, it holds ambition and a great longing for something more – narratives to be told, dreams to be fulfilled.

For cultural magic in the medium of film to be a depiction of life is to better understand ourselves; looking through a lens, utilising emotion, direction, and visualising a tale. And this is something that we need – education on the cultural movements and reflections of films about film. Movie lovers and amateurs can relish and learn a new thing about how filmmaking is so much more than a job or passion, but a purpose.

Francoise Truffaut and Giuseppe Tornatore

Truffaut’s 1973 drama Day For Night celebrates the treasured workshop process of creating cinematic work. It is people, story, narrative, and the impassioned work behind the collaboration with those who hold an ardent love of art. Director of the film within the film, Ferrand, comments on the process of movie-making by saying “At first you hope for a nice ride. Then you just hope to reach your destination”. It is the connection between the hope in film and its melancholy process – much like being alive. And Cinema Paradiso teaches us a formative lesson on joy, pain and togetherness.

Truffaut - Day for Night

From the confines of a small Italian theatre, Alfredo the projectionist screens a film onto the side of a building in the Sicilian town from his booth so the whole town can watch and know the simple and wonderful joy of cinema. This is a grand testament to cinema bringing people together. From the confines of a small Catholic Church in Italy to a million-Euro budget French cinematic collaboration – there are hardships in reaching a conclusion for an artistic project.

What is History and Meaning in German Expressionism? Fritz Lang’s ‘M’

The dark days of the Germans aren’t difficult to distinguish. A history lesson from the Treaty of Versailles to the anguish of the Second World War. Trendy Berlin, dark Munich. Where do the Germans stand in cinema? And are they greatly underrepresented?

There aren’t the twisting, romanticised emotions in loved-up French film or whimsical Spanish cinema, but there is German expressionism. Simply ahead of its time, Fritz Lang’s M (1931) holds a top place in modernist, sharp-witted psychological thought and production design. 1931? It seems difficult to believe that just a few years before there were starry-eyed, controversial films like The Jazz Singer (1927). 

Expressionist director Fritz Lang’s M is a projection of society that is forward for its time, making morals and sharp motifs the basis of cinema. Where German proficiency is ejected in their culture, their straight-laced and -faced ways are nicely conveyed through expressionism. Dark house, industrialised stylistic measures in architecturally-structured noir German cinema. They have a way of being emotionally direct and communicative in a way that fits a mould of structuralist thought, which is and very much can be beneficial in telling a story.

Fritz Lang’s M has us delve into the underworld of Berlin, visuals of spilt beer and criminals almost reflecting the unfortunate nature of Germany’s history and the Great Depression, all combined with the emerging sexual expression of the 1930s. Lang grew up in Berlin amongst the squalor of underground society during the Second World War, as his wife was a part of the Nazi Party. The cinematographic choices in expressionism reflect the visceral and underlying unconscious of directors who specialised in the era, like Lang. 

To express the pale background of Germans within their cultural concepts, blackened history, and original artistry, expressionism plays a vital role. It separates them from other conventions of cinema in neighbouring countries. The chiaroscuro of cinema is inspiring in that it is a standalone area of art, educating us on a new, influenced, and influential perspective from Deutschland. 

French Cultural Feminist Moves in the Movies – A Study on Sciamma and Guy-Blanche 

The stereotype of the French, culturally, has them seem conceited due to their marvelling history, art, and overall more impressive ways of life. Yet is this reflected in cinema? Do the fairy-like ladies have a feministic grit? They really do. Pioneers like Agnes Varda paved the way for New Wave cinema and a feminist-like approach, though she bashfully claims she wasn’t a feminist. But who was it that came before and after her? 

As the Lumiere brothers may be applauded for their inventions of cinema itself, Alice Guy-Blaché was an unlikely pioneer, The Consequences of Feminism (1906) being an early 20th-century commentary on women’s unlikely ruling and presence. It is unbelievable that this is from 1906. 1906?

The world’s first female director has fallen far behind on the recognition front. A wonder of satirical content, The Consequences of Feminism has men and women switch household and work roles, showcasing the humorous intent of Blaché. The powerhouse that is Blanché may have created over 1,000 films in her time, with differing lengths and points of interest. Focusing on the importance of the narrative, she cleverly tells the incompetent position of sexism in society, expressed through mainstream cinema in the early 20th century!  

Today, modern directors’ films like Céline Sciamma’s have remained prevalent in that they discuss topical conventions of girlhood such as sexuality, ambiguity, and performance, and generally, always involve female characters who electrify the screen with their realism. Her avant-garde approaches are a great insight for audiences new to feministic film.

Focusing on women in an authentic light, Sciamma expressed herself as an up-and-coming auteur. With minimalistic themes and visuals, there is no need for extravagance when there are powerful female tales to tell. Sciamma’s Petite Maman (2021) deals with themes of grief, anguish, loneliness, and friendship. A childhood story bringing light to the perspective of a young girl, it holds an emotionally intact intent to showcase a new, vulnerable voice. 

Varying women from the 20th and 21st Centuries carry a similar message with differing modes of expression to allow women to have a louder voice in characterisation and creativity. Film buffs must know the ways of women in the movies, where they come from, and what they so poignantly have to say through their essay-like art.