Louis Malle unveiled the natural beauty of Jeanne Moreau in his breakthrough, Elevator to the Gallows. With his follow-up, the scandalous smash The Lovers> (Les amants), he made her a star once and for all. A deeply felt and luxuriously filmed fairy tale for grown-ups, perched on the edge between classical and New Wave cinemas, The Lovers presents Moreau as a restless bourgeois wife whose eye wanders from both her husband and her lover to an attractive passing stranger (Jean-Marc Bory). Thanks to its frank sexuality, The Lovers caused quite a stir, being censored and attacked for obscenity around the world. If today its shock has worn off, its glistening sensuality and seductive storytelling haven’t aged a day. Continue reading
In his mesmerizing debut feature, twenty-four-year-old director Louis Malle brought together the beauty of Jeanne Moreau, the camerawork of Henri Decaë, and a now legendary score by Miles Davis. A touchstone of the careers of both its star and director, Elevator to the Gallows is a richly atmospheric thriller of murder and mistaken identity unfolding over one restless Parisian night. Continue reading
Vive le tour is director Louis Malle’s affectionate homage to one of France’s most treasured institutions, the Tour de France cycle race. In this short documentary film, Malle and his camera team marvellously capture the ambience of the Tour: the unbridled enthusiasm of the crowds of spectators, the beauty of the French countryside setting, and the gruelling ordeal of the participants.
We see how the cyclists refresh themselves during their marathon races, the sorry effects of dope-taking, the pain and disappointment of injured cyclists and, finally, the indescribable delight of the victors on the podium. With its eloquent and evocative photography, accompanied by Georges Delerue’s enchanting music, this is less a documentary and more a visual poem which says almost all there needs to be said on the greatest cycle race in the world. James Travers (filmsdefrance) Continue reading
The fascination of watching Damage is similar to the fascination of watching a car crash in progress–you know something unpleasant is going to happen, but your attention is riveted to the scene of destruction. In the case of this acclaimed drama, adapted by playwright David Hare from the novel by Josephine Hart, the destruction results from a collision of sexual attraction between a British governmental official (Jeremy Irons) and his son’s fiancée (Juliette Binoche). Blind to the damage they’ll cause to others and themselves, they begin an obsessive affair based purely on impulsive attraction and the hidden emotions that feed into their immediate physical desires. As you could expect, this leads to emotional fallout for everyone concerned, lending multiple interpretations to the film’s title and allowing Miranda Richardson (as Irons’s wife) to give a brilliant performance drawn from raw anger and betrayal. Under the direction of Louis Malle, this forceful drama never resorts to sordid detail or gratuitous titillation. Rather, Malle and his esteemed cast have explored the ways in which the power of sexuality supercedes the rationality of logic, when mutual attraction is stronger than one’s ability to resist temptation. Damage makes it clear that such an indulgence will always come at considerable cost. The DVD of this fine film includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and the original theatrical trailer. Continue reading
IMDB : In Paris around 1900, Georges Randal is brought up by his wealthy uncle, who squanders his inheritance. Georges hopes to marry his cousin Charlotte, but his uncle arranges for her to marry a rich neighbour. As an act of revenge, Georges steals the fiance’s family jewels, and enjoys the experience so much that he embarks upon a life-time of burglary…
Roger Ebert review:
The idea is astonishing in its audacity: a film of two friends talking, just simply talking—but with passion, wit, scandal, whimsy, vision, hope, and despair—for 110 minutes. It sounds at first like one of those underground films of the 1960s, in which great length and minimal content somehow interacted in the dope-addled brains of the audience to provide the impression of deep if somehow elusive profundity. “My Dinner with Andre” is not like that. It doesn’t use all of those words as a stunt.
They are alive on the screen, breathing, pulsing, reminding us of endless, impassioned conversations we’ve had with those few friends worth talking with for hours and hours. Underneath all the other fascinating things in this film beats the tide of friendship, of two people with a genuine interest in one another. Continue reading
Told with fondness and precision, and set in France at the time of the IndoChina War (which later became an American problem known as the Vietnam War), this controversial feature handles teen coming-of-age, sexuality and even incest with a gentleness that disappointed the prurient and shocked the conservative. This is one of director Louis Malle’s finest films: others include The Fire Within and Au Revoir Les Enfants. Laurent (Benoit Ferreux) is 14 years old and anxious to lose his virginity. However, he has a very close family circle, and, between the family and school, he is too closely watched to get anywhere. He makes the most of an opportunity to neck with the girls at his older brothers’ party and later almost gets to lose his virginity in a bordello, but his boisterously drunken brothers interrupt him. His real opportunity arises while his mother takes him for a rest-cure for his heart murmur at a very conventional spa. by Clarke Fountain Continue reading