Zazie dans le Métro (1960)
In this rowdy little half-gem of a comedy, Louise Malle observes the city of Paris and the people in it in a Chaplinesque manner. He draws inspiration from silent era comedies and short-format cartoons in everything from the absurd narrative and the fast-paced, sometimes illogical editing to the music and sound effects. Little 10-year-old Zazie is like Jerry Mouse as she impudently runs around the streets of Paris scolding and exposing the weaknesses of her elders and various provisional guardians. Malle's abrasive style most definitely isn't for everyone, but there's so much going on here, in the foreground as well as in the background, that you'll never find yourself bored or feel you have it figured out. For two-thirds of its running time, Zazie works because it's always on the move, always in pursuit of the next wild idea, composition or cut. It's an influx of impressions, and it's all done in good humour – right up until the ending when Malle runs out of things to say and the film loses its style and becomes a fuzzy and messy farce.