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Some time after "Baisers Volés", Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Christine Darbon (Claude Jade) are married and Antoine works dying flowers, and Christine is pregnant and gives private classes of violin. When Christine is near to have a baby, Antoine decides to find a new job, and he succeeds due to a misunderstanding of his employer. In a business meeting, he meets the Japanese Kyoko (Mademoiselle Hiroko) and they have an affair. When Christine accidentally discovers that Antoine has a lover, they separate. But later they miss each other and realize that they do love each other. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The first half sparkles, but it gets lackluster by the end
In "Bed and Board," the boyish Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) settles down to married life with Christine (Claude Jade). But while it seems like a promising idea for this beloved character to move on to the next phase of his life, the film does not live up to its potential.
"Stolen Kisses," the preceding movie, was a romantic comedy with such a consistently sweet and charming tone that it became something more than mere fluff. "Bed and Board" maintains the same sparkling tone for about the first hour. Christine and Antoine's apartment building is inhabited by the quirkiest group of Parisians to come along until "Amélie," thirty years later. (Both movies even have an old man who refuses to leave his apartment.) Indeed, the movie, and its hero Antoine, are in love with quirkiness: Antoine works dyeing flowers and operating remote-controlled model boats, which are even stranger than the odd jobs he held in "Stolen Kisses." There are also some tenderly idiosyncratic scenes between the newlyweds.
But "Bed and Board" becomes much less interesting when it aims for a more serious tone and introduces infidelity into the plot: Antoine cheats on Christine with a Japanese woman, Kyoko. To add insult to injury, Kyoko is a blatant stereotype of the "exotic, submissive Asian woman," wearing kimono and writing calligraphy. Maybe Christine and Antoine were always a mismatched coupleChristine is very practical and bourgeois, while Antoine is a fanciful dreamerbut if he has to cheat on her, couldn't he do it with someone amusing?
Obviously the Antoine Doinel series dealt with some very serious themes in its first installment, "The 400 Blows." But that movie was a unique, distinctive look inside the head of a troubled 14-year-old boy; however, the serious themes of "Bed and Board" are found in innumerable French movies about infidelity. It's too bad that "Bed and Board" falls so flat in its second half, because its first half is whimsical comedy at its best.
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