Jessua has never achieved the fame of Truffaut and Resnais, but he was at least their equal in talent. In this, his finest film, he explores a young man's withdrawal from Parisian bourgeois life into a world of his own. Is the man going insane? By conventional standards, yes, but it's clear that the life he's fleeing is madder still. Moreover, since we hear and see the events from his point of view, and since that point of view is unfailingly witty and astute about the underlying if not the literal truth, we even come to accept his delusions as more "real" than reality. The writing finds humor in the bleakest situations, while the direction reveals a Zen spirituality in the most banal images. Denner's performance is enough to give "psychotic charm" a good name, and he manages to be heartbreaking without ever resorting to obvious pathos. In short, a masterpiece.
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