France, 1855. Zélie Fontaine, a twenty-odd-year-old widow and the post mistress of the small provincial town of Argenson, has accepted to receive love letters to Hortense de la Jacquerie, ... See full summary »
France, 1855. Zélie Fontaine, a twenty-odd-year-old widow and the post mistress of the small provincial town of Argenson, has accepted to receive love letters to Hortense de la Jacquerie, the prefect's wife, under her name. But Hortense decides to break up with her lover, François du Portal. François will not hear of it and, with a view to regaining her love, manages to be appointed deputy prosecutor in Argenson. Trouble can't help following. Written by
I hate to write that but I find it hard to relate to some Autant-Lara's movies.I had the same problem with "Le Marriage De Chiffon" and I hope pretty soon my good pal Writer's reign's comment will join mine and prove me I'm wrong!
A town in the provinces under Napoleon the Third's reign (legions of Autant-Lara take place in the nineteenth century: "Douce" "la Jument Verte" "l"Auberge Rouge ""Le Rouge et le Noir" " le Marriage De Chiffon" or at the beginning of the the twentieth : "Occupe-toi d' Amelie" "Le Diable Au Corps" )There are two social classes :the Society (aristocrats and top-ranking civil servants) and the Shop (minor officials,local tradesmen) .We will attend to-ings and fro-ings among these people , à la Marivaux,or à la Renoir ("Règle du Jeu")
In spite of a top-notch cast (Odette Joyeux,François Périer,Simone Renant),despite dazzling costumes and settings which are a feast for the eye,despite the lancers,a dance which is actually a duel between the two classes,"Lettres D'Amour" fails to excite me.Like "Mariage de Chiffon" ,it's a rehearsal for Autant-Lara 's "Douce " .It's too gentle,too polite,too affected to move me.
I like Autant-Lara when he is rebellious to the end ("Douce" "le Diable Au Corps" "L'Auberge Rouge" "Tu ne tueras point" ),not when he gives a compromise solution.Never Max Ophuls would have indulge himself such an ending where he keeps both parties sweet.
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