We’re left breathless by the cool interiors of Jean-Luc Godard and La Nouvelle Vague.
Look around your living room.
Is it a hymn to midcentury modernism?
Is it a temple of modern Scandinavian design?
Is it white?
For those who share a mantra with Jeezy, ‘all white everrrything’, it might be that you have a pesky landlord, who won’t allow you to change the colour of your walls, or else you could be suffering from what David Batchelor described as ‘chromophobia’, a condition prevalent among European interior designers.
There are temporary, cheap and quick fixes to accentuate the beauty of a white home and create an unfussy, vintage look. For the answer, we turned to the films of the French nouvelle vague director Jean-Luc Godard, for some Gallic style inspiration.
In his 1961 film A Woman is a Woman, Godard plays with the palette of the French tricolore flag, setting his film within a white, red and blue interior. As the young couple bicker, laugh and play tricks on one another, the director shifts his camera back and forth on to the red and blue accessories and clothing that are strewn nonchalantly throughout their Paris apartment.
While the dichotomy of feminine + passionate red, masculine = passive blue, might seem passé, there is no denying the strong visual pull of Godard’s colour symbolism. A warning… watching this film has been known to provoke extreme late-night web browsing, in search of the perfect vintage enamel coffee pot in duck egg blue.
In a later film, Contempt (1963), starring Bridget Bardot, Godard plays the same game of chromatic contrasts, but this time the actress makes small changes to her hair colour and outfit to complement her pristine Mediterranean apartment, as well as her mood.
The walls are always white, but the interiors of the film have a cool, polychromatic look through bright red and blue sofas, pale Greek sculptures, and bright yellow robe (on which Bardot sunbathed nude in one famous shot).
A stack of vintage magazines or classic yellow paperbacks, a fixed gear bike on the wall and a 60s poster or two are all that’s needed to show that you know your French New Wave cinema.
In particular, the brilliant red poster for Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up (1966) (the Italian director was a close friend of Godard) is a modern design classic.
His earlier film, Red Desert, the director’s bold reds and blues ‘exclaim more than they explain’, but there is no denying the beauty of his starlet, Monica Vitti, leaning despondently against a pale blue railing.
For your own modern living room, get inspired by watching Une Femme Est Une Femme, Antonioni’s Blow Up or Red Desert.