In Francois Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player, a 1960 example of cinema as the free exercise of imagination (complete with jokes), a man has a blighted past because of what happened to his wife and now a blighted present because of his crooked brother.

The film begins with the brother frantically running from fellow thieves until, after stumbling and falling, he is assisted by a stranger who immediately starts talking about his relationship with his wife.  Incongruous, this, but true to form:  Truffaut wastes no time bringing up one of his favorite subjects: women.  Women mean a lot to him, in an entranced, are-women-magical? way far removed from animal sex.

Shoot the Piano Player alternates between the main character’s—Charlie Kohler’s—involvement with women and his involvement with the crooks his brother knows.  The result is a personal, quite sad pulp fiction, though with a disappointing finis.  (Why’d you have to knock off Marie Dubois?Should have been more moving, for one thing. 

Shoot the Piano Player

Shoot the Piano Player (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(In French with English subtitles)