Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
Director Francois Truffaut
Writers David Goodis (novel), Francois Truffaut, Marcel Moussy
Starring Charles Aznavour, Marie Dubois, Nicole Berger, Michèle Mercier
Synopsis (by MOster)
This movie tells the story of Charlie/Edouard, a piano player at a bar in Paris. Charlie is (ostensibly, at least) the most honorable of the three adult males in his generation. Flashbacks show his history as a concert pianist, but the movie's main focus is on how he deals with a new love life and the trouble which seems to follow his family.
i think i'm just sick of old foreign movies. (we've watched six in the last month and a half, adhering to our only rule about the netflix queue) this was ok, but there was nothing to it. it was all surface. here's this guy. he used to be a concert pianist. he has crappy brothers who are constantly scheming and getting into trouble. here are two guys after their cut of a robbery take that they committed with one of the brothers. pianist gets dragged into it along with his lady friend. shoot out. the end. complete indifference.
This took a turn for the better for me around the halfway mark as the single flashback was drawing to a close. The film uses voice over to positive results as we see what Charlie is thinking at key points in the development of the plot. While not all of his actions are particularly nice, these insights let us understand his point of view better than many other narrative devices would have; and when we're brought back to the present we have a better ability to see how everything ties together.
Humor comes from the bumbling of most of the other male characters, but it's not overbearing. One particular quick cut away from a tense scene yields a much-needed laugh. As the story unfolds I was left with a sense of ambiguity about Charlie's actions (did the knife slip or didn't it?). But my greater certainty about one of the other characters lets me see irony in the ending, which grants artistic satisfaction along with the sadness.