Six In Paris

Also known by the French title Paris vu par . . . , this is probably the best of the French New Wave sketch films (1964). Six directors are assigned separate sections of Paris, and each sketch is shot in 16-millimeter. The most powerful episodes are those by Jean Rouch (one of his few purely fictional works, shot documentary style in only one or two takes and costarring the future director of Reversal of Fortune, Barbet Schroeder) and Claude Chabrol (a convulsive bourgeois family melodrama featuring Chabrol himself and his then-wife Stephane Audran). Eric Rohmer contributes a mordant and well-crafted story set around l’Etoile, and the interesting if uneven Jean-Daniel Pollet, whose other films are woefully unavailable in the U.S., is represented by a bittersweet comic short starring the Harry Langdon-like Claude Melki. Jean Douchet (best known as a Cahiers du Cinema critic) offers a fairly undistinguished depiction of a Left Bank seduction, and Jean-Luc Godard presents a more detailed version of a story told in his feature A Woman Is a Woman, shot by Albert Maysles and starring Joanna Shimkus. Like most sketch films, this is patchy, but the Rouch, Chabrol, and Rohmer segments shouldn’t be missed. (JR)

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