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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
The idea of a love affair between a woman in her sixties and seventies would have never been the subject of a film in America. It takes a lot of bravery on the part of the director, Josee Dayan, to bring this story to life, as it most have been the case when Hal Ashby gave us his take in the same subject with Harold and Maude.
Certain parts of Marguerite Duras' life were not well known to this viewer; her alcoholism, for example, comes across as a surprise. But it is her involvement with a young man that could have easily been her grandchild that must have come as a total revelation to a lot of viewers of this film.
Thankfully, it is done in a very subdued manner. Nothing shocks in this December-January relationship. The only thing I had trouble with is the claustrophobic atmosphere of the film, darkly photographed and lighted that uses mainly interiors as the principal sets.
Jeanne Moreau has been making films forever, or so it seems. Watching her on screen, the real Marguerite Duras comes out quite clearly. We can swear what we are watching is happening. Ms. Moreau's transformation into the character she is portraying is quite uncanny. It comes as an advantage to this actress the fact she has never undergone an operation to transform her into a much younger looking woman.
The young lover's part in this story is much of an enigma. This Yann must have been attracted to Duras by his admiration to her work, rather than by her looks, which, of course, would not seem possible since Ms. Duras is at the end of her life and the young man has not lived his. Aymeric Demarigny is adequate in the part.
It is without a doubt a Jeanne Moreau signature film because of her dominance of every aspect of it.
This is a film for francophiles, mainly, to enjoy.
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