Like Vanya, in Malle's last film, Milou never left the family estate. His mother dies during the May 1968 student uprising in Paris. The brother who is the London correspondent for Le Monde... See full summary »
A small town in the south-west of France, summer of 1944. Having failed to join the resistance, the 18 year old Lucien Lacombe, whose father is a prisoner in Germany and whose mother dates ... See full summary »
This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than... See full summary »
In Paris around 1900, Georges Randal is brought up by his wealthy uncle, who steals his inheritance. Georges hopes to marry his cousin Charlotte, but his uncle arranges for her to marry a ... See full summary »
Alain Leroy is having a course of treatment in a private hospital because of his problem with alcohol. Although he is constantly distressed, he leaves the hospital and tries to meet good ... See full summary »
Somewhere in Middle America, 1907: Maria II, the daugther of an Irish terrorist, meets after the dead of her father Maria I, the singer of an circus. She decided to stay with the circus. On... See full summary »
Garvey is a San Francisco pawnshop operator. His unemployed and criminal friends Dillard, Turtle, and Weslake, team up with Boardwalk, a local pimp, to burgle Garvey's shop while the owner ... See full summary »
This merry farce depicts a satirical view of the French society: Twelve years old Zazie has to stay two days with her relatives in Paris, so that her mother can spend some time with her ... See full summary »
Great visuals, but be ready for the cultural imperialism
I don't often review films but in this case I felt I had to balance the positives I see here. Yes, this is a fascinating portrait of the India of over 40 years ago. It has changed a lot since then, so it's valuable to have this social document. And it is true that Malle's identification of the dangers of globalization and Western values was prescient.
BUT the film is also an unintended document of French leftist cultural arrogance, self- indulgence, and prejudices. This is not exactly a criticism - I was amused as often as irritated - but it was not what I expected from the reviews I read.
The footage is often haunting and beautiful.
But all the while Malle's deeply felt narration piously deplores: Indian poverty and backwardness, the depredations of economic growth, the oppression of the priests and other Brahmins, the "enslavement" of animals as labor (esp. elephants) the viciousness of British colonialism (as opposed to just any version; one assumes the French version was better as in all things) the infighting among otherwise brave and forward-thinking communists, and finally, the unwillingness of the peasantry to rise up in glorious armed revolution!
I am not kidding, in episode 4 he literally laments the people's lack of violence.
Again, documenting those views is no bad thing. He does make useful political observations that are at least as relevant today. And his narration of his personal journey and evolution, while it rings pretty self-indulgent, seems sincere. He does slowly shed some of his arrogant assumptions of superiority.
But you need to be in the mood. I got tired of it by the end of the 1st disk, in spite of the many wonderful visuals.
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