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A musical drawing room farce set in Paris in October, 1925. Gilberte, in middle-age, flirts with men but loves her husband Georges, wishing he were more demonstrative. He's negotiating a deal with an American, Eric Thomson, who turns out to be Gilberte's first husband from an annulled and secret stateside marriage. Along with her sister Arlette, Gilberte begs Eric not to tell Georges about the marriage. Meanwhile, a young artist, Charly, pursues Gilberte while Arlette tries to match him with the young Huguette, who loves him. Will Eric play along or try to re-win Gilberte's affection? Can Gilberte play one off against another? And who will manage to kiss whom on the lips? Written by
Alain Resnais, like a lot of brilliant people, can be interesting even when he's not very entertaining. But in Not on the Lips, he's not even really that interesting.
I liked the way the movie began, with the cute credits and the opening shot with the women singing. At that point I had high hopes. As the empty-headed characters chattered, I thought perhaps this was an Oscar- Wilde/Noel Coward sort of thing that would mock the upper classes.
But as I watched further, I began to feel that instead, this was just a rather tedious trifle that has nothing to say. So I looked it up on wikipedia, which says it's an old operetta and that Resnais purposely made it as originally intended. Apparently that chatter was supposed to be interesting.
I rather liked the music, although it's disconcerting when the subtitles don't bother to rhyme (sometimes they do, sometimes not). It's got a nice look to it. But about a third of the way through I just couldn't see how I could stand anymore of this superficial claptrap, and I stopped watching.
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