One of the young Turks of les cahiers du cinéma,the nouvelle vague bible ,Doniol-Valcroze was not lucky when it came to making his own movies;his seventies works 'l'homme au cerveau greffé' -which was not bad though- and' une femme fatale" vanished into thin air.And who feels like watching his early works?
And then there's "la maison des Bories".It's by far Doniol-Valcroze's most sustained piece of work.It has worn so well it compares favorably to Jean Renoir's "une partie de campagne" as the precedent user points out .The Provence landscapes are a feast for the eye,so is Marie Dubois's luminous beauty.The plot is simple:a family,the father,a grumpy scientist,his beautiful wife,and their two children live in "la maison des Bories, a remote house in a hot sunny part of the provence .There comes a young man Karl Stephan who falls in love with the mother (who falls for the young man too).It is banal I hear you say;not at all.They will become platonic lovers.that's why we can say Dubois's character is a modern princess of Clèves who favors duty -or her family here- over sex.
Nevertheless,this film contains one the most beautiful love scenes that was ever filmed:The two "lovers" lay naked in their beds at night,in their bedrooms: a stunning editing make us believe that they're actually making love.
A wonderful score enhances the beauty of the cinematography;the cast is excellent:Marie Dubois found here her lifetime part :had the Cesars existed at the time,she would have deserved one hands down;it's too bad that this excellent actress,now sick,can no longer play.Matthieu portrays the young German with sensitivity and his relationship with the children is wonderfully depicted.Maurice Garrel,in the thankless part of the sullen husband ,makes all his scenes count.
In a nutshell,if you tired of films where people sleeps together during the first fifteen minutes and where sex kills any emotion,this is a must-see.For that movie alone,Doniol-Valcroze should not be forgotten.
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