n°206/ Remember Morris Engel

January 2016

by Nathalie Azoulai

In an interview given to The New Yorker, French director François Truffaut put it this way: Our New Wave would never have come into being if it hadn’t been for the young American Morris Engel, who showed us the way to independent production with his fine movie Little Fugitive.”At this time, French movie makers were still frank and honest and did confess how America influenced their own film aesthetics which didn't come from scratch at all. Have a look at Engel's wonderful 1953 movie, watch the outdoor filming in Coney Island, the spontaneous momentum, the physicality of those children's bodies on pavements, beaches or merry-go-rounds, the playful poetic lights shining over the whole story and you will come across what French New Wave supposedly invented. Even for the striped t-shirts that turned out to be so iconic in the French movies shot by Godard or Chabrol that they brought up a new fashion trend. But who really knows it by now except for movie making experts? Let's not forget about photographer and director Morris Engel and let's spread the word that our over remembered French Nouvelle Vague owes a great deal to his so forgotten Little Fugitive.

 Little Fugitive

 Morris Engel