Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Response XIX- Bob le Flambeur

Originally, I did not want to write a blog on "Bob le Flambeur." If there was a film that was screened and I did not write a blog on it, chances are I disliked the film so much that I didn't even want to write about it; however, this was not the case with this film. I actually enjoyed "Bob le Flambeur" very much. The only reason why I did not want to write a blog on it, was because this film was very different from all the other French New Wave films that were screened. To this day, I wonder how "Bob le Flambeur" is even considered a New Wave film, if it is at all.

The main difference I noticed between this film and all the other New Wave films screened this semester, is this film was flawless with regard to plot and editing. Almost all of the other New Wave films showed this semester were intentionally sloppy with their editing and often times lacked a good plot. This is especially true of Jean-Luc Godard. In addition, Melville, the director of this film was faithful to the genre he chose. Melville was immensely interested in American gangster films, so Bob Flambeur turned out to be a heist/gangster film. The issue of genre is probably the biggest difference I noticed between the other New Wave films and this one. Directors like Godard played with genre and often times parodied it in his films instead of portraying a true representation it. "Alphaville" is a true example of one of Godard's films that butchers and parodies genre. Furthermore, the storyline in this film is unlike those in the other films screened. "Bob le Flambeur" is about a casino heist while most other New Wave films are about relationships and love triangles.

In this film, I feel as if Melville included the "Femme Fatale" which is found in many American movies. The "Femme Fatale" is supposed to be the character who is responsible for the hero's downfall. The "Femme Fatale" in this film would be probably be the young woman Bob takes care of in this film. He is a gentleman towards her and is a father figure for her. Unfortunately she slips and accidentally tells one of Bob's enemies about the casino heist. Although the enemy is gunned down before he can reveal anything to the police, the police still eventually find out because of the girl's slip. The audience at this point believes that this is the end of Bob and his plans but the opposite happens. In the casino, Bob is high on greed while and is winning a large amount of money. He forgets to do his part in the plan and everything is ruined. The police show up and arrest Bob, but the audience gets the feeling at the end that Bob will be going to jail due to the large sum of money he won that day. Ultimately although Bob did not rob the casino in the true sense of the word, he still did figuratively robbed them by winning so much.

Although I do not consider this film to be a prime example of a New Wave film, I still enjoyed this film very much. It kept my attention, it had a lovely plot, it was entertaining, and it was easy to follow. Watching this film was ultimately useful for me because it allowed me to really understand stylistic qualities of the French New Wave by comparing "Bob le Flambeur," to other New Wave films.

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