Shoot the Piano Player Screen 8 articles

Shoot the Piano Player

1960

Shoot the Piano Player Poster
  • ...A romp through a variety of genres and moods, SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER (of the three in this trois) best embodies the playful qualities of the nouvelle vague, especially their love of pastiche.

  • The argument against humor in what should be serious art has been disguised as an argument over purity of form, the argument advanced for Racine against Shakespeare, Richardson against Fielding, and Mann against Proust. I suspect that Antonioni is purer than Truffaut, but I suspect that cinema, like water, obtains its flavor from its impurities. And what impurities there are in Shoot the Piano Player!

  • While the fluid and flexible black-and-white cinematography (by Raoul Coutard) is in the anamorphic process Dyaliscope, the ambience is cramped and cozy in the best low-budget tradition.

  • Though it seems almost cruel that Aznavour never sings in the film, he most poignantly conveys profound sadness—stemming from a crazy family, betrayal, loss and squashed hope—during those moments when he never opens his mouth.

  • Defying its gritty premise, and in stark contrast to his only previous feature THE 400 BLOWS, PIANO PLAYER is comedic, eccentric, edited in flashback, and indulges in absurdist silent comedy and film noir genre conventions (which is likely more absurd).

  • Before sliding into Charlie’s bed, his tart of a neighbor croons, “Television is better than movies.” Prescient to some, but few serials could achieve the infectious energy distilled into each of Shoot The Piano Player’s 82 minutes.

  • Truffaut, a better pianist, sets his mercurial editing rhythms and leaping tones against the steady beat of Goodis’s peculiar, unvarying fantasy, and comes out with something that feels like an inspired improvisation on noir themes. The buoyancy, the invention, and the anything-goes spirit that this Frenchman brings to Goodis’s glum material makes the whole thing seem more, well, American. It’s jazz.

  • The greatest quality is also the most difficult to fully describe — the blithe way it steps between postures of raucous humour and seriousness, metafictional wiseacrey and waylaying emotional directness arriving in a quick-fire barrage... It probes what artistic success means in terms of personal identity, a notion that also extends the attitude of investigation as to what forces define us from childhood to adulthood and what happens to the self when its foundations collapse.

More Links