Monday, October 19, 2015

Le Témoin

1978, France/Italy, directed by Jean-Pierre Mocky

Vintage Jean-Pierre Mocky, an absolutely acid take on sexual relationships between young and old and, ultimately, on miscarriages of justice. The confident management of tone from the sex farce of the opening twenty minutes or so to the brutal realism of the final shot is quite remarkable -- a very difficult trick to manage, but Mocky was clearly very much in control of his material and his two fine central actors. Noiret already had a well-established "type" by the late 1970s, which the director uses very much to his advantage, and the same is true of Alberto Sordi, who I've only seen in Italian films. Indeed, the use of Sordi was so apt that it was a great surprise to discover that the role was originally intended for Jean Gabin -- it's hard to imagine he would have captured the innocent abroad tone that's so crucial to the first half of the film. Also of note was the mise en scène, particularly the placement of actors in many scenes -- there's a wonderful sense of movement within the frame, to often comic effect. 

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States