Good Scene / Bad Scene

Chosen by Joe Russo, the co-director of 'Welcome To Collinwood', to be released on 25 april

Interview,Jennifer Rodger
Saturday 17 September 2011 13:32

Good: 'Shoot the Piano Player' (François Truffaut, 1960)

Good: 'Shoot the Piano Player' (François Truffaut, 1960)

This scene encapsulates the nouvelle vague – its imagination and experimentation. It's when the piano-player's brother visits him at the bar where he works, and there's a series of absurd moments that aim to explain what the film's about – the relationship between the sexes. There's a jazz singer who sings a hilarious, non-rhythmic song about men and women. There's a woman who keeps on seductively pulling a man towards her, then pushing him away, until the man slaps her and a brawl breaks out. And, through all this madness, the piano player continues on. The scene marries poignant insight with absurdism.

Bad: 'The Best Years of Our Lives' (William Wyler, 1946)

The opening scene is a good example of the terrible melodrama so prevalent in post-WWII cinema. The scene sets up the plot of how three Second World War veterans (above) meet on a plane going home, and how they adjust to civilian life. There's a shot when one of them has to sign a paper, and he takes his hands out of his pockets to reveal that they are hooks – they've been blown off. The other servicemen react by gawping. It's so unsubtle, I was turned off in the first 15 minutes.

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