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Dalila Di Lazzaro,
On a beach in Nice, François meets the mysterious Peggy and falls in love with her. Following her to a villa, he meets Marc, a lawyer who has a strange relationship with the girl. Marc tells François that Peggy is a drug addict: she kills men who approach her.
1) Jerôme Chambard, a retired man, taken in by nuns in a convent, swears like a trooper. 2) Françoise takes a lover because he has promised her a diamond necklace. 3) Denis, a seminarist, decides to renounce his vows to avenge his sister. 4) God in person lands at a remote farm and works miracles there. 5) Pierre learns that his mother is not his mother, but a famous actress. 6) Didier, a bank clerk, teams up with a bank thief after being fired by the manager 7) Jerôme Chambard is invited to Sunday lunch by his friend the bishop and by dint of drinking to their friendship the holy man cannot remember the ten commandments anymore Written by
In the fourth segment, Duvivier deals with one of the most esoteric subjects in the Christianity, and his challenge is realized in a miraculously simple script and the beautiful images. The abuses, the complains and the criticism of the dying old woman against God, they remind me of the first question by Satan on the mountain and The Legend of The Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov. A lot of whys thrown by her ghastly senility would be ours, too : why does the mightiness of God easily change this world happier in a blink? Why does God refuse to change the stones in the wilds into millions of bread? God doesn't answer to her agonizing question directly, but he only says he loves all humankind, even though they are no more than a dust in front of the infinity of this universe. Love is the answer, and it's similar to the meaning of a silent kiss of Jesus in The Legend ...
In this movie, God offers a miracle to the worn old woman nevertheless, but she doesn't desire it! This refusal is the most painful and heartbreaking one I have ever known in my life. As in a novel of Paul Gallico, 'Snowflake', we all would like to hear a tender voice, "Well done", at the last moment in this world after many trials and tribulations.
The ending of this segment is tremendously shocking. But I don't want to consider it as a cynical derision against our (modest) goodness which can't help us comparing with the old woman at her death. I believe it mustn't be a cruel sarcasm at least for the woman who dies, given a benediction at the end of her life. Or rather, it should be a ridicule on those who martyr the true divinity among us and consider it as a kind of insanity. Anyway, Jesus after the Resurrection is a prisoner in that Legend, so is he in this movie (in an institution in this case). Willingly, he even gets into the car of those who will never understand him and are going to lock him up as a psychiatric patient.
According to the iconography, the swallow is a symbol of the Incarnation of God, so the director describes it in the script, I guess.
God by Fernandel is as impressive as Bruno 'Angel' Ganz (do most of celestial creatures wear a coat on the earth?). Especially, his figure carrying an African wooden totem on his shoulder could be an association with Jesus who walks alone, carrying a heavy cross also on his shoulder : Fernandel's steps seem so resolute and majestic in the scene, however.
Today we know another masterpiece according to the Ten Commandments : Dekalog by Krzysztof. Kieslowski (1989-1990). It's wonderful, compelling and I do regret I should give only ten to this great work!
Other interesting references : 1. Les Sept péchés capitaux by various directors (1952) 2. Children of Nature by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (1991) (Fantastic! We can meet Bruno-Angel there again)
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