When an aristocratic woman known only as "Madame de . . ." sells a pair of earrings given to her by her husband in order to pay some debts, she sets off a chain reaction of financial and carnal consequences that can end only in despair.
In the Paris of the late 19th century, Louise, wife of a general, sells the earrings her husband gave her as a wedding gift: she needs money to cover her debts. The general secretly buys the earrings again and gives them to his mistress, Lola, leaving to go to Constantinople. Where an Italian diplomat, Baron Donati, buys them. Back to Paris, Donati meets Louise... So now Louise discovers love and becomes much less frivolous.Written by
It strains the imagination and saddens the heart to wonder at the existence of those people, long past, who would strive for such a sublime accomplishment.
"It's when we've the most to say that we're silent"
The dramatic situations develop so that we feel every word the characters leave unsaid. The situation speaks, and then the characters comment cleverly, explain themselves to their best advantage in that momentary sparkle that is "life"
The relationship of the director to his characters: they are allowed to be witty, to be beautiful, profound, and deeply human, yet in this humanity is their futility, a charming futility. As in the classics, The passions rule all humans. The characters are as puppets, not to the director, but to the passions.
The camera moves, yes, and you may have heard of Ophuls' flowing camera. It is not empty style, but dynamism, concision, and, more importantly, the flow of life that is his moving camera. It is the flowing movement of Ovid's Metamorphoses, the inexorable flow of life. The camera doesn't so much follow the actors, but that the flow of life is happening, and the characters are swimming in that stream of happening.
Why does he persistenly show the characters through a pain of glass? These are the boundaries of social propriety, the confines of their situation. Ophuls knew it best: life is a movie
Vladimir Nabokov wrote a short story entitled "La Veneziana"... Have I strayed from the subject? But, aren't all things sublime closely related?
I have learned, through persistent trial, that '98 is a fine year for Rhone. I suggest that you open a bottle, pour a glass, and push "Play" on "The Earrings Of Madame De..."
"unhappiness is an invented thing"
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