Thursday, August 27, 2015


1980, France, directed by Maurice Pialat

A film that follows very much in the steps of its predecessor, Passe ton bac d'abord. While the social milieu is different -- a combination of characters drawn from both slightly lower and slightly higher tranches than the earlier film, with the socio-economic specificity of Paris also added in -- there's a great deal of continuity between the late-adolescent mistreatment of friends and lovers and the adult version of the same thing in Loulou. There's also a continued sense of a terrifically depressing drift in the France of the Giscard era, despite the often positive social liberalization of French life in that period. Not for the first time, I have the sense that Mitterrand's 1981 election was as much as anything a desire to move on from the grey decade of the 1970s, during which it became increasingly difficult to take seriously the promises of French social life. From such unpromising social turf you often get wonderfully interesting films, of course. It was an exquisite pleasure to see Jacqueline Dufranne as Depardieu's mother here: she was both wonderful and heart-breaking as the mother/foster-mother in La Maison des bois, one of the warmest and, as that film progressed, most distressing performances I've seen. 

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States