All Boys are Called Patrick


1957

Film Details

Also Known As
Charlotte et Veronique, Tous les Garcons s'appellent Patrick
Genre
Drama
Short
Release Date
1957

Synopsis

Film Details

Also Known As
Charlotte et Veronique, Tous les Garcons s'appellent Patrick
Genre
Drama
Short
Release Date
1957

Articles

All Boys Are Called Patrick


A small but valuable building block in the history of the French New Wave, this short film was the first real creative collaboration between Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer, new giants of the Cahiers du Cinéma wave of critics turned filmmakers. Rohmer was the magazine's editor at the time, while Godard was a regular writer and had appeared in a bit part in Rohmer's 1956 short, La sonate à Kreutzer.

Here Godard went behind the camera as director for the 21-minute short, whose lengthier French title is Charlotte et Véronique, ou Tous les garçons s'appellent Patrick. That original name is significant as this marks the introduction of a loose cycle of shorts involving the character of Charlotte, who also appears the following year in Rohmer's Presentation, or Charlotte and Her Steak (starring Godard) and the Godard-directed Charlotte and Her Boyfriend. Here Charlotte (Anne Collette) is a student who shares an apartment with Véronique (Nicole Berger), both of whom seem to have found the ideal potential boyfriend. Little do they realize at first that the object of their affection is the same person: Patrick (Jean-Claude Brialy), who will throw a wrench into both of their romantic plans.

Significantly, this film was made just before Godard embarked on his first feature film, Breathless (1960), which was written by François Truffaut and would mark a major turning point in the French New Wave. That film's aesthetic playfulness with the history and form of cinema can be found here in tiny doses, including references to James Dean via a poster adorning the kitchen wall in counterpoint to the romantic projections onto the character of Patrick. However, the film also bears the wistful romantic attitudes of Rohmer, which would be completely alien to Godard's cinema within a very short period of time. On the casting front, the biggest name here is certainly Brialy, a mascot of sorts for the era who appeared in major roles for Truffaut, Godard, Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Louis Malle, Philippe de Broca, Roger Vadim, and even Luis Buñuel. Brialy had already garnered major notices starring in Chabrol's Le Beau Serge in 1958, with some of his major later films including A Woman Is a Woman (1961), King of Hearts (1966), The Bride Wore Black (1968), and perhaps his most famous role as the romantically frustrated Jerome in Claire's Knee (1970).

All the Boys Are Called Patrick was initially shown in numerous festivals and was appended to screenings of French films for many years, eventually falling into the Janus Films library where it remains today. One high-profile revival via Janus in 1978 came with a description of the short as "the lightest and wittiest" of Godard's early shorts, noting that "the movie may pleasantly surprise those who find Godard's universe a misanthropic and hermetic void with little room for romantic ironies."

However, the film would only come up for greater English-language study in subsequent years as the Janus library became more readily available via campus screenings across the country. In 1984, it was programmed with two more famous French shorts, Chris Marker's La Jetée (1962) and Truffaut's Les Mistons (1957), by Cinema Texas, who described it as "an enjoyable short film... Missing in this film are the jump-cuts and ellipses which made Breathless so stylistically shocking, and the more overtly amoral stance in regard to relationships." A more in-depth appraisal came soon after from the cinematic study manual, Pyramid Film Guide, who observed, "The insights we get are Godard's, not those of Charlotte, Veronique, or the young man," finding that for students, the film can show "how important point of view can be in clarifying the theme or main idea of a story. Godard's theme is that, even though the characters seem to be sure of themselves and in control of the situations in which they find themselves, they really are neither. The confidence they seem to have is a mask." Fortunately the confidence of the two filmmakers behind the film was far more genuine, as both would go on to change the face of film history soon after creating this miniature gem examining the foibles of the human heart.

By Nathaniel Thompson
All Boys Are Called Patrick

All Boys Are Called Patrick

A small but valuable building block in the history of the French New Wave, this short film was the first real creative collaboration between Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer, new giants of the Cahiers du Cinéma wave of critics turned filmmakers. Rohmer was the magazine's editor at the time, while Godard was a regular writer and had appeared in a bit part in Rohmer's 1956 short, La sonate à Kreutzer. Here Godard went behind the camera as director for the 21-minute short, whose lengthier French title is Charlotte et Véronique, ou Tous les garçons s'appellent Patrick. That original name is significant as this marks the introduction of a loose cycle of shorts involving the character of Charlotte, who also appears the following year in Rohmer's Presentation, or Charlotte and Her Steak (starring Godard) and the Godard-directed Charlotte and Her Boyfriend. Here Charlotte (Anne Collette) is a student who shares an apartment with Véronique (Nicole Berger), both of whom seem to have found the ideal potential boyfriend. Little do they realize at first that the object of their affection is the same person: Patrick (Jean-Claude Brialy), who will throw a wrench into both of their romantic plans. Significantly, this film was made just before Godard embarked on his first feature film, Breathless (1960), which was written by François Truffaut and would mark a major turning point in the French New Wave. That film's aesthetic playfulness with the history and form of cinema can be found here in tiny doses, including references to James Dean via a poster adorning the kitchen wall in counterpoint to the romantic projections onto the character of Patrick. However, the film also bears the wistful romantic attitudes of Rohmer, which would be completely alien to Godard's cinema within a very short period of time. On the casting front, the biggest name here is certainly Brialy, a mascot of sorts for the era who appeared in major roles for Truffaut, Godard, Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Louis Malle, Philippe de Broca, Roger Vadim, and even Luis Buñuel. Brialy had already garnered major notices starring in Chabrol's Le Beau Serge in 1958, with some of his major later films including A Woman Is a Woman (1961), King of Hearts (1966), The Bride Wore Black (1968), and perhaps his most famous role as the romantically frustrated Jerome in Claire's Knee (1970). All the Boys Are Called Patrick was initially shown in numerous festivals and was appended to screenings of French films for many years, eventually falling into the Janus Films library where it remains today. One high-profile revival via Janus in 1978 came with a description of the short as "the lightest and wittiest" of Godard's early shorts, noting that "the movie may pleasantly surprise those who find Godard's universe a misanthropic and hermetic void with little room for romantic ironies." However, the film would only come up for greater English-language study in subsequent years as the Janus library became more readily available via campus screenings across the country. In 1984, it was programmed with two more famous French shorts, Chris Marker's La Jetée (1962) and Truffaut's Les Mistons (1957), by Cinema Texas, who described it as "an enjoyable short film... Missing in this film are the jump-cuts and ellipses which made Breathless so stylistically shocking, and the more overtly amoral stance in regard to relationships." A more in-depth appraisal came soon after from the cinematic study manual, Pyramid Film Guide, who observed, "The insights we get are Godard's, not those of Charlotte, Veronique, or the young man," finding that for students, the film can show "how important point of view can be in clarifying the theme or main idea of a story. Godard's theme is that, even though the characters seem to be sure of themselves and in control of the situations in which they find themselves, they really are neither. The confidence they seem to have is a mask." Fortunately the confidence of the two filmmakers behind the film was far more genuine, as both would go on to change the face of film history soon after creating this miniature gem examining the foibles of the human heart. By Nathaniel Thompson

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