Sound And Vision: Claude Lelouch
In the article series Sound and Vision we take a look at music videos from notable directors. This week we take a look at Françoise Hardy's Tous les Garçons et les Filles, directed by Claude Lelouch.
I have to admit something: I am not that familiar with the works of Claude Lelouch, even if he made several bonafide classics. Les Uns et Les Autres and A Man and a Woman (Un Homme et Une Femme) are considered major works of French cinema, both of which I have not seen yet. In fact, as far as I know, the only thing that Claude Lelouch directed that I have seen was the music video for the Sound and Vision of this week, for Françoise Hardy's Tous Les Garçons et les Filles.
Even then, it was hard to verify I was looking at the exact right version: apparently there are several different versions in existence, only one of which was directed by Claude Lelouch, and the time-frames of when Lelouch directed the video are wobbly. Was it 1964 as some sources said? Or 1962 as other sources stated? Was I looking at the right version? Only by cross-sourcing many references am I quite sure that the video below was in fact directed by Lelouch, even if I can't find much information about the circumstances in which it was filmed, nor any other articles about it online.
Which is a bummer, cause it is a great video, that makes me curious about Lelouch's other directorial efforts. In the music video Françoise Hardy, the epitome of a dissatisfied French youth with ennui, sings about feeling singled out, as everyone of her peers seems to have fallen in love. She, however, is not coupled off, but is still alone, and needs to find comfort in her solace. It's a wonderfully bouncy song, with an earworm of a melody line.
And the music video possesses the same quality the song describes: while Hardy is singing on a tilt-a-whirl, the camera focuses on her solemn expression, and her still motions. Every part of the environment is kinetic, from the people at the fair dancing and enjoying themselves, to the carnival rides. Even the camera and editing are slightly energized with a joie de vivre. 'All the boys and girls' are in movement, basically, but Hardy is not. And therefore she becomes the center. She is the one thing in this universe not moving, so everything starts to revolve around her.
It's a wonderful visual metaphor for the expressions of the song: even if everyone seems to be moving, and you may not, that ain't a bad thing. You are your own center. While the music video might seem deceptively simple ('Put Hardy on that carnival ride and start shooting!') it is exquisitely made and deepens the meaning of the song visually. There is a reason Hardy's ennui attracted a lot of listeners, and still stands the test of time. Claude Lelouch captures some of that magic on screen.