Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »
Restless married couple Maria and Paul take a road trip through Spain with their friend Claire. While Paul and Claire carry on a clandestine affair, Maria becomes obsessed with a recent ... See full summary »
A man and a woman arrive in a cafe-hotel near the belgian frontier. The customers recognize the man from the police's description. His name is Amedee Lange, he murdered Batala in Paris. His... See full summary »
Dominique Marceau is on trial for the murder of Gilbert Tellier. The counsels duel relentlessly, elaborating explanations for why the pretty, idle and fickle girl killed the talented and ... See full summary »
Robert Lomax, tired of working in an office, wants to be an artist. So he moves to Hong Kong to try his hand at painting. Finding a cheap hotel, he checks in, only to find it's used by ... See full summary »
Police commissioner Santamaria is investigating the murdering of the ambiguous architect Mr. Garrone. The investigations soon drive him into the Torino's high society. Santamaria suspect ... See full summary »
Peter Brooks' film of Marguerite Duras' Moderato Cantabile is one of those good ideas that should make for a better film, but in its determinedly artistic distance and relentless melancholy it never draws you into its characters lives enough to make you care about the inevitable outcome. Jeanne Moreau's dissatisfied wife of the local steel mill owner finds herself increasingly fascinated with a crime of passion after overhearing the victim's scream and seeing her lover/killer taken away by the police and is drawn repeatedly back to the scene of the crime. Equally fascinated by her, Jean Paul Belmondo's steelworker starts inventing details about the doomed lovers to get closer to her. Even though she knows he's lying, his version starts to fill a void in her soul and a need for a vicarious romantic tragedy of her own but from the monotonous gloom of their surroundings and the desperate emptiness of their meetings, it's obvious a happy ending isn't on the cards...
It perfectly captures the dull grey feel of a small dead end coastal town and Armand Tirard's crisp black and white CinemaScope photography (beautifully preserved on the Australian DVD) is easily the best thing about the film, but the film is as drained of real passion as the characters and the minimalism and predictability of every plot and emotional development of its determinedly internal narrative (you just know you're going to hear that less than convincing scream again) makes it all seem rather superficial and uninvolving. There may well be more nuance and meaning in Duras' original story, but Brook never really finds a cinematic equivalent with the result that there's less than meets the eye to the film. Still, if it were made today the plot would suddenly make a U-turn into woman-in-peril territory as Belmondo turned out to be the real killer and Moreau his next intended victim, so for sparing us that cliché at least it probably deserves an extra point.
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