Tuesday, April 07, 2015

La Clé sur la porte

1978, France, directed by Yves Boisset

Though it caught me eye because it features Patrick Dewaere, this is very much Annie Girardot's film -- as enlivening as Dewaere is, he doesn't appear for a good half hour, by which time we're deeply invested in Girardot's character, a lycée teacher who also functions as a kind of de facto youth leader for the various local teens friendly with her daughter. It's a very affecting portrait of a woman trying as hard as she can to create a reasonably sane space for her adolescent charges, whether formal or informal, and the sense of the shared bonds of community is both effectively sketched and quite convincing. Boisset wisely resists the temptation to portray Girardot in saintly terms: she's not immune to the errors of judgment, but she's also grounded by a strong ethical sense, and it makes for an compelling portrait of late-1970s French society, still negotiating between poles of adult authority and youthful liberation.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States