Perhaps Simone Signoret's worst part,this movie seemed to indicate the decline of an estimable director who made largely overlooked efforts ;Henri Calef actually directed movies that deserve to be watched :"Les Chouans" (from Balzac) ,"La Maison Sous La Mer" even "La Passante " .His finest films are a war movie "Jericho" ,which depicted bravery and cowardice as few post-war movie did,and "les Eaux Troubles" .
"Ombre Et Lumière" looks like an unintentional spoof on "psychoanalytical" melodramas /thrillers of the American forties ,when Hitchcock ,Lang,Jack Tourneur or Siodmak made masterpieces in this field (notably "spellbound" "secret beyond the door" "cat people" " the spiral staircase").Simone Signoret portrays a world-wide known piano player whose favorite composition is Tchaikovski Piano Concerto part one which was also her downfall:during her twenty-fourth (or is it twenty-third ?) concert,she began to go nuts ,much to the musicians' dismay.Her father had lost his marbles before he died they say.
A shrink explains to her she suffers from a neurosis called "narcissism" : she sees "reflections " on her piano (and occasionally on mirrors she relegates to the attic) ,and the face which appears is none other than the other " me" ,probably her inflated ego. Compared to those of the four directors I mention above,Signoret's fears are laughable,and the way Calef films them is downright embarrassing.
Perhaps this unfortunate artist ,"cured" by a nice shrink (Pierre Dux) ,would never have had a relapse.But alas,she falls in love with the owner of a sawmill ,and this handsome man is none other than her sister's former lover.Maria Casarès plays the part of the sibling;and she plays a part we know too well;it's the same she once played in former greater glories :Marcel Carné's "Les Enfants Du Paradis" and Robert Bresson's "Les Dames Du Bois De Boulogne";the jealous woman seeking revenge .
"Ombre Et Lumière" ,released in 1951,was already quaint ...Signoret turned around from that disaster and shone in "Casque D'Or " the following year.
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