Thursday, September 28, 2017

La Maison Bonnadieu

1951, France, directed by Carlo Rim

An enjoyable satire of bourgeois mores, with Bernard Blier as the head of the aforementioned house, dealing with his wife's infidelity. The comic aspects are generally to the fore, though as James Travers notes the (very fine) photography seems to owe more to dramatic, even noir, territory at times -- and several sequences, including those snapshotted here, are very nicely staged from the visual perspective. The direction is by the unfamiliar-to-me Carlo Rim, though on the strength of this film he bears further attention. 

Blier is, predictably, excellent, though Yves Deniaud steals several scenes as his right-hand man, while Berthe Bovy makes a delightful appearance as that rarest of plot devices, the grande-mère ex machina. It's also very interesting for its period in that the film places women squarely as the center of domestic power, without also implying that they are to be feared; Danielle Darrieux sparkles much as one would imagine, with both her wit and her beauty. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Non coupable

1947, France, directed by Henri Decoin

A deeply cynical postwar film -- a category in which there is much Gallic competition -- about getting away with murder, with Michel Simon, playing a doctor, in especially fine form (as was the case with his very different part in the same year's Panique). While not directly about the recently-concluded war and its aftermath, it's hard not to draw inferences about the impact of those events on the French psyche, while Decoin also infuses a hearty dose of Simenon-esque commentary on the bourgeoisie, most obviously in the evening routine of the (male) notables in the local bar. Decoin's work behind the camera provides further evidence that he's a worthwhile addition to the postwar canon. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Le Camion

1977, France, directed by Marguerite Duras

Duras, Depardieu, a truck. That's about it and yet this is an utterly compelling piece of work -- the visual juxtaposition of small, older woman and hulking young man is of course amusing and eye-catching, but so too is their studied verbal pas-de-deux, and the camerawork, especially in the interior scenes, has a lovely warm, limpid quality. Duras comes across as a fierce intellect, in addition to her unmistakable voice.


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Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States