After killing a child on a routine bombing mission in Vietnam, Pierre suffers from delayed stress and partial amnesia. Returning to France, he lives like a vegetable until he meets a young ... See full summary »
After killing a child on a routine bombing mission in Vietnam, Pierre suffers from delayed stress and partial amnesia. Returning to France, he lives like a vegetable until he meets a young girl who has been dumped by her father at a boarding school. Posing as her father, Pierre contrives to meet the girl every Sunday, to play with her and perhaps recover his memory. The innocent friendship is misread by nearly everyone, even people who know Pierre well. A classic of old French art films. Written by
Molly Malloy <email@example.com>
This film is first and foremost beautiful. The beauty of the B&W cinematography is appalling. The composition is perfect. The delicate range of grays achieve a silky texture that has an almost tactile feeling. The music by Jarré is beautiful. The child actress Patricia Gozzi is nothing but angelical in her blooming beauty.
The story is simple; a former war pilot with war trauma and amnesia and an abandoned little girl meet by chance and desperately cling to each other so as to find company and salvation. The child becomes the more mature of the couple, the adult goes along innocently and follows her counsel, advancing inexorably to his own destruction. The well intended (well, more or less well intended) adult world does not understand the delicate platonic relation, reads it as sinful and deviant, and proceeds to destroy it. The final scene is one of the most painful and desolate in the history of cinema, even though its beauty is unforgettable.
The weakness of the movie is that it has not survived well the end of the sixties. Its aesthetics is too connected to the conventions of the time. The human relations are not real enough for our time. There is a degree of rigidity, idealization and oversimplification that does not allow the film to stay alive, as is the case with the masterpieces of Fellini and Bergman. However, this does not detract the movie from its serene beauty, its evocative power, and all the nostalgic pain of a lost love.
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