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Manoel de Oliveira
Luís Miguel Cintra
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In 19th century, a disillusioned priest helps a young boy drifter who's a chess wunderkind to move on up in life and social structures using his talent. Years later, he's a success, but game of life and love has higher stakes than chess.
Georges Delerue's score is exquisite:it deals with nostalgia and all those voyages we've never made.
Hubert is the perfect craftsman:he gets back to the pre-nouvelle vague era ,when the directors did not contemplate their navel,when pretension was unknown,when a story to tell was the only thing that mattered....when the actors were so good they could run the whole gamut without overacting.
"La reine blanche" is all that.Too bad for the highbrows who relish watching again and again Rohmer ,Resnais or Rivette .I'm not an intellectual and I love being told a story.And I always will. Hubert's film tells an absorbing tale of two men who have been fighting for the same woman during their childhood and adolescence.One of them had to leave for the Islands (La Guadeloupe).Twenty years later ,he comes back with a black wife and three children,one of his girls is a beauty.The other has married his first love and lives with her father and his children .The two men (Bohringer and Giraudeau,both brilliant)meet again and seem happy to be together again.But..
"La reine blanche" recreates 1960 in the provinces ,near Nantes with its balls ,its songs ,its popular fetes,its procession of floats.There's also a nod to Jacques Demy's "Lola" when Giraudeau and Deneuve have an argument in a famous street of Nantes.
You've got to pay attention to notice all the important things Hubert includes in his script.Racism is veiled but it is latent and it may resurface when you do not expect it.
All the actors are wonderful.Giraudeau is the stand-out :his joviality hides a repressed hatred and a resentment which emerges from time to time.He is hilarious as a peanuts street peddler complete with monkey on his back.Bohringer matches him every step of the way in his part of tough guy with a tender heart .Catherine Deneuve proves that she can play a simple woman convincingly.The sadly missed Jean Carmet shines as her father,who's more than fond of the bottle.Good support comes from the black actresses too.
You leave "la reine blanche" overjoyed because you know that there are still directors who have not forgotten that cinema is first the magic of storytelling.I do not go much for gastronomy.I'd rather have a good soup.
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