Monday, February 18, 2013

Shoot the Piano Player (1960)




“When my love turns to hate, I'll wear a cap as I go.” 

            Before viewing Shoot the Piano Player I had never seen a François Truffaut film. I heard about him from reading about French cinema and have his book of interviews with Alfred Hitchcock. I had been curious to see a Truffaut film and Shoot the Piano Player was the first one that I found.
            The film starts with a man named Chico running away from two men. He runs into a bar where his brother Charlie is the piano player. Chico wants Charlie’s help hiding but Charlie wants nothing to do with his brother’s problem. He does wind up helping somewhat when he knocks over cases of wine to stop the two men from getting to Chico as he runs out the door.
            That night after work Charlie walks a girl named Léna home. Léna likes Charlie she walks up to his piano and talks to him as he is playing. As they are walking she notices that the two men who were after Chico are now following them. Charlie and Léna manage to get away from them. The next morning in his apartment Charlie looks out the window and sees the two men are waiting for him to leave his apartment.
            Léna takes Charlie to her apartment. She has a poster with his face on it. We find out Charlie used to be a famous concert pianist named Edouard Saroyan. He had been married to a waitress. The more famous Charlie became the more she became jealous of him and his success. All they do is argue and after one fight where he walks out she kills herself by jumping out the window. Ever since then he has been going by the name of Charlie and works in bars in small towns.
            Charlie’s youngest brother has been taken by the two men. Charlie and Léna drive out to his family home. He knows the men will be looking for not only Chico but also their other brother who stole money from the men’s employer. Gun fire erupts as soon as the men reach the house. Léna runs to Charlie and is shot.
            There is a lot more to this film than what I have written but I am not going to give anything away and honestly, the film is not complicated but I feel I could understand it better if I were to watch it again.
            I really liked Shoot the Piano Player. As I say every time I watch a French film they are so much more creative and stunning than American films especially the ones made in the fifties and sixties. There were so many great scenes and shots. The story was very good. I like the artistic feel of Shoot the Piano Player and the different moods the character goes through in each of his surroundings. I look forward to watching more of Francois Truffaut’s films.