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Bonjour Tristesse (1958)
"Bonjour tristesse" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  April 1958 (USA)
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Reviews: 37 user | 38 critic

Cecile, decadent young girl who lives with her rich playboy father Raymond. When Anne, Raymond's old love interest, comes to Raymond's villa, Cecile is afraid for her way of life.



(screenplay), (based on the novel by) (as Francoise Sagan)
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Complete credited cast:
Geoffrey Horne ...
Juliette Gréco ...
Walter Chiari ...
Martita Hunt ...
Philippe's Mother
Roland Culver ...
Mr. Lombard
Jean Kent ...
Mrs. Helen Lombard
David Oxley ...
Elga Andersen ...
Jeremy Burnham ...
Eveline Eyfel ...


Cecile, decadent young girl who lives with her rich playboy father Raymond. When Anne, Raymond's old love interest, comes to Raymond's villa, Cecile is afraid for her way of life. Written by Dragan Antulov <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

April 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bonjour Tristesse  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Parisian framing sequences are in black and white (printed on colour stock) while the majority of the film, told in flashback and set on the French Riviera, is in colour. See more »


We hear the Band at c.6'50" and we see a clarinet-player performing, but the music has no clarinet part whatsoever included at that point in the soundtrack. Later, when the clarinet does eventually join the soundtrack, the fingering of the player bears absolutely no relation to the music actually being heard. See more »


Cecile: It's getting out of control. I just wish I were a lot older or a lot younger.
See more »


Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une histoire seule (1989) See more »


Bonjour Tristesse
Music and Lyrics by Georges Auric
Sung by Juliette Gréco
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Preminger in transition
18 July 2006 | by (France) – See all my reviews

A fascinating, frustrating, though ultimately deeply satisfying film. Many readers have commented on the frustrations, and they are hard to deny. My experience of this movie goes back to the early 70s, when I first encountered it in ideal circumstances, at the Museum of Modern Art during its complete Preminger retrospective, and in a gorgeous, perfect print. A great introduction to a film whose very meaning resides in its glossy surface. The first few minutes of the film powerfully set up the tragedy that is to come: Saul Bass's dripping teardrop titles underscored with Auric's deeply tragic music, followed by the first black and white scenes depicting Cecile's current active but deeply disengaged life. Then, as Cecile arrives home and begins remembering "last summer", the blue Mediterranean sea begins to invade the frame, little by little -- a striking effect, to say the least --, we are there, in the midst of a carefree vacation with Cecile, Raymond and Elsa, and quite successfully invited to forget the tragedy that seems to be in the making and enter a carefree, sunlit world where nothing, seemingly, could ever go wrong. Masterful film-making, and, thus far, perfectly pitched: Seberg's perfectly expressionless and beautiful face has no small part in making it work. That she is less secure in the flashback scenes is unfortunate, but her physical presence at least gives the right signs: this is a very young girl, happy but extremely shallow. (Yes, I will admit that the line readings are quite stiff -- no question she is "acting." But, if one is already in the proper frame of mind they are not all that damaging.) What's important is the holiday mood, and the performances of Niven and Mylene Demongeot are sufficiently effervescent to evoke it. (Demongeot is a real charmer -- beautiful beyond belief and full of joie de vivre.) The arrival of Deborah Kerr on the scene changes all this: a dignified Lady coming into the midst of a world she finds immoral, distasteful and, in the deepest sense, unacceptable: her reaction to realizing that Raymond is, shall we say, shacking up with Elsa is the turning point of the film, the crossroads of comedy and tragedy. And from this point we are invited to see how, step by step, comedy turns to tragedy. What's most wonderful about this film is how diverting that progression is. The world of the French Riviera is, after all, a world of carefree bliss (at least on the surface), and we are given ample opportunity to enjoy that along with the characters in the film: a delightful casino scene (enlivened by the presence of that wonderful actor, Walter Chiari, a truly handsome man with a wonderful flair for comedy, and here, playing opposite Demongeot, particularly delightful) and a visually stunning dance at the dock, a masterpiece of costume design in delicious color and Cinemascope, worthy of a Minnelli musical (and, in its delirious scale, surpassing most of them). Finally, let me just say that the final moments of the film (and I will refrain from spoiling them) are among the most moving in all cinema: an evocation of self-loathing and emptiness that remains unrivaled in its beauty. Yes, beauty. Caveat emptor: It is useless to see this film in the pan&scan version (I have had the experience, and it is horrible). The Columbia DVD edition looks great (absolutely NO extras, by the way; it appears to have been simply dumped on the market -- odd treatment of a masterpiece). Oh, yes, my title heading: Preminger's previous films had mostly dealt with "little" events -- noirs, small comedies, etc.; most of his subsequent films ("Exodus," "The Cardinal," "Advise and Consent," "In Harms Way") with Big Events. This one is still on an intimate scale, but has much in common visually (particularly the masterful use of CinemaScope, to which Preminger took like a fish to water) with the later films.

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