Cet Amour-là is an intimate portrait of a legendary love affair. Set against the beauty of the Breton seaside, it is also a film that revels in the insights that Marguerite Duras' writing ...
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Cet Amour-là is an intimate portrait of a legendary love affair. Set against the beauty of the Breton seaside, it is also a film that revels in the insights that Marguerite Duras' writing affords. Written by
When a Cahiers du cinema interviewer suggested Jeanne Moreau's acquaintance with Marguerite Duras might have aided her interpretation, she interrupted: "Je n'ai pas pensé à elle une seconde. Jamais!" She continued (still in French): "All the people I've played, the second I hear 'Action' and the camera rolls, I forget them." Watching "Cet Amour-là," I often felt she was walking through it as herself. While enormously respectful of her talent and the roles, I'd never found her attractive. That down-turned mouth effected a sort of death mask that sent a chill, especially as I'm one of those mad souls who never wants to die, or think about it. I've probably read additional, beyond-Truffaut's-intent, irony into Jules' and Jim's pursuit as a result. She certainly came across as wiser, and perhaps therefore nearer to death, than either of them. The amazing thing about "Cet Amour..." is how likable Moreau is, the sad mouth diminished amidst a complex of folds and wrinkles. I'm way younger, but could easily imagine this old woman nodding off on my shoulder, lending me a bit of her serenity. That's the essence of the film: an intensely comfortable and comforting Jeanne Moreau. It's no more necessary for us to channel Duras than it was for Moreau to do it to play her. And Moreau's voice, of course. Here are three older female voices I've always found so calmingly complex, that I listen instantly, doesn't matter what they have to say: KPFA's Judith Stone, Helen Caldicott (always meaning to alarm but a soothing purr nonetheless), the present-day Maryann Faithful. Add the present-day Moreau, even if only when she's speaking French. Calmingly complex in voice and image: Moreau may be better than the film, but she is the film. Regardless of anyone's intent, the film is about her.
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