Avant-garde jazz *and* post-Nouvelle Vague film-making: Does life get any better?

Browsing the excellent Hackney Library‘s DVD collection this afternoon led me to a DVD release of the 1971 French film “Les Stances à Sophie”. I’d never heard of it but the back of the box promises “a tour-de-force post-Nouvelle Vague/French New Wave film…[featuring] the infamous soundtrack by The Art Ensemble of Chicago driven by a narrative full of the post-1968 ideals of Paris radicalism, hip dialogue, sharp clothes and fast cars.”

I almost can’t bring myself to watch it – nothing could be that good. Could it?

UPDATE: This film’s very much of its time – radical sexual and personal politics; the clash of the free-spirited Céline and her bourgeois husband Philippe; fast cars and smoking – but it does have some stunning scenes. If you like the clip above you’ll probably enjoy the rest of the film. For some reason before viewing I’d imagined a wall-to-wall avant-garde jazz soundtrack but the Art Ensemble are used pretty sparingly throughout. If you don’t like French cinema (apparently some people don’t) then the CD soundtrack might be more your speed (note: The Sophie soundtrack comprises the first six tracks below, the last two are from People in Sorrow from 1969).



  1. LondonJazzCollector

    Interesting, first I have seen of the new Spotify-embedding. First you battle the evil silver disc, now they send in Spotify to finish off any survivors! Digital hegemony, but the higher-resolution Vinyl Resistance will fight on.
    France is still the only country where , in a television news review, they turn to “an intellectual” (black frame glasses, of course) for an opinion. What a country, you’ve got to love it. Great post.

    • paulmurphyx

      Thank you for your kind words. As a wearer of black frame spectacles I did look over my shoulder when I read your comment but you can’t have meant me – I’m not French.

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