Anne Goupil is a literature student in Paris in 1957. Her elder brother, Pierre, takes her to a friend's party where the guests include Philip Kaufman, an expatriate American escaping ... See full summary »
Anne Goupil is a literature student in Paris in 1957. Her elder brother, Pierre, takes her to a friend's party where the guests include Philip Kaufman, an expatriate American escaping McCarthyism, and Gerard Lenz, a theatre director who arrives with the mysterious woman Terry. The talk at the party is about the apparent suicide of their friend Juan, a Spanish activist who had recently broken up with Terry. Philip warns Anne that the forces that killed Juan will soon do the same to Gerard. Gerard is trying to rehearse Shakespeare's "Pericles", although he has no financial backing. Anne takes a part in the play to help Gerard, and to try to discover why Juan died. Written by
It's like the New Wave version of a mystery/conspiracy thriller, and in that regard it works really well. The black and white cinematography suits the tone perfectly, even if the very poor quality of the film makes it hard to tell, and it's supported by some disorienting editing and a great use of light and shadows. There's also a really terrific score, probably one of the best for this genre. Even though the film runs 140 minutes, it never really feels boring, as the conversations between characters are gripping enough to keep the viewer's interest. The story is rather strange, as it appears to be non-linear and occasionally irrelevant, but it seems to work out at the end. However, unfortunately, the end is a complete disappointment, as it attempts to hammer home some political viewpoints that just end up being confusing, and then coasts to a unsatisfactory finish without really tying up any of the loose ends. It's an interesting watch, and you could do a lot worse, but it's no masterpiece.
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