Every year the Viennale invites a famous director to produce a short film as the festival trailer. In 2014 the choice has fallen on the 105-year old Manoel de Oliveira. This year's trailer ... See full summary »
Four versions of the same story, first in the perspective of a theatre play, second in the perspective of a silent film, third in the perspective of a film of the 50s and finally in a biblical philosophical perspective.
Manoel de Oliveira
Luís Miguel Cintra,
Belle toujours occurred to me unexpectedly and, as I had the will to pay my tribute to Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière, I was happy to have found a way to do so, perhaps the best, and I started working. What is it about? Taking two of the strange characters from the film Belle de Jour, and make them relive, thirty eight years later, in the strangeness of a secret which was only in the possession of the masculine character and a knowledge that had become crucial to the female character. Thus, passed this time, they meet again. She tries to avoid him by all means. But he stalks her and eventually manages to gain her attention with the intention of revealing the secret that he alone can unfold. They set a meeting, a dinner, where she expects that all will be revealed. During dinner, she, now a widow, awaits the expected revelation: what he had told her husband while he was mute and paralytic because of a gunshot wound fired by a lover of hers. The situation is tense and she ends up ... Written by
Manoel de Oliveira
Symphonie n° 8 en sol majeur - Op. 88 (mouvements 3 et 4)
(credited incorrectly as mouvements 2 et 3)
Composed by Antonín Dvorák
Performed by L'Orchestre de la Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian
Conducted by Lawrence Foster See more »
I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to view both this film, and the film "Belle Du Jour" upon which it is a sequel, for the very first time in 1 sitting. I was impressed beyond expectation with the first film "Belle Du Jour" directed by Luis Bunuel, only the second film I have seen of his after the very well done "the young one" and am convinced of how great a director he was. That being said, despite the fact that I was very intrigued by the premise of this movie, "Belle Toujours", where 39 years later a sequel was made in which the same characters and one of the original actors meet after so many years to relive their experiences, this movie proved to be everything I feared it would be; a stagey contrived mess filled with pseudo intellectual dribble contained within unrealistic overly dramatized situations, and at best, having no real purpose or unique value of its own.
The movie begins with lengthy excerpts in a concert hall which last roughly 8 minutes at which point Henry Husson notices Severine in the audience. You cannot go wrong in opening a film with classical music in this way, though it has been done countless times before. It could have even been very poignant if the two main characters had met outside of the theatre. There are at least three 30 second scenes of shots of Paris with classical music playing, which MIGHT have been poignant if they had first met at the theatre, but which transparently comes across as filler in order for the director to reach an hours length for this waste of film, which only runs 65 minutes long.
Instead, Husson did not find Severine outside the theatre, and after wandering the streets aimlessly, he just happened to spot her leaving a bar into a cab, where she just happened to leave the barman with the address of where she was staying. "lucky" as Husson describes it... I would describe it as stagey and poorly conceived, though even here if the director were to spare us from more "luck" the film may have been bearable. Afterwards, Husson goes to the hotel where Severine is staying and just as he enters the elevator she exits the adjacent one, after which he comes down again much too quickly only to see her leave. The hotel clerk then tells him she is leaving the city. Finally, later as he is walking along the street he just happens to bump into her again, where he is talking to her and she walks back and forth, clearly imitating some of the behaviour of Severine Played By Catherine Deneuve in the original film, though to a nauseatingly exaggerated degree. So in the end these 2 re-unite.. after FOUR chance encounters. A Single, might have been poignant. 2 pushy, but 4, utterly ridiculous. This scene which is all shot outside in sky view ends with Husson entering the boutique and emerging 30 seconds later. We later find out that he therein purchased the box with the perverted sex toy held by the oriental client in the first film.... right where he bumps into her for the 4th time; Convenient to a writer and director unable to create a realistic and coherent plot, bust most importantly his character in the first film did not know anything about her encounter with the Asian client.
That essentially is the entire plot, not aided at all by the ridiculous fact that in all 3 times the male lead enters the bar where he was able to obtain Severines address, each time there are 2 sex workers there who observe him and interest in his story as if they are fixtures there with no real lives, and nowhere else to be. Almost a third of the movie takes place here, and the worst aspect is that it in no way gives the viewer anticipation for when Husson and Severine finally will speak to each other. Instead it is a reflective and unengaging speculation upon the first movie, which anyone who has seen the first movie could reflect upon as good or better on their own.
Finally when the 2 leads meet at a dining room, where they had arranged, after some simple words of exchange, they eat and say nothing to each other for almost 5 minutes. Anyone who finds a single shred of meaning out of this, and doesn't see it as the mindless filler that it is, is the kind of person who would find meaning in a single line drawn on a blank piece of paper. They have a short discussion about the past as the candles on the table 1 by 1 extinguish, a very obvious and somewhat contrived bit of symbolism, until finally they part and the movie is ended by this very empty climax.
This entire film is I believe the biggest disgrace upon another movie I have seen. If the plot was at the very least put together in an intelligent and plausible manner, it would at least be acceptable, though still even that disregarded, this film seems like it was put together by a 10 year old with nothing original or new to offer, and literally no plot, based purely on a script contemplating the events in the original movie which could have been written in a couple of hours, and much better done at that. I do not know why Catherine Deneuve did not reprise her role from the first film, but thankfully for her she does not have to associate her name with this absolute disgrace. Michel Picolli should be ashamed of himself for taking part in this pile of film stock. This movie is not even a film of its own. At best it is a meandering reflection upon a true film, and has no purpose to it whatsoever.
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