Truffaut and Godard Rise in Two in the Wave


An anniversary present for the new wave—tied to the upcoming 50th-birthday screenings of BreathlessTwo in the Wave gives the gift of received wisdom as it recounts the erstwhile friendship of film-critics-cum-directors François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. 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 letter exchange of 1973, the “Takeover”/”Ether” of cinephilia (Truffaut’s classic kiss-off to J-LG: “. . . 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 rest 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-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 Cinémathèque Française.