Lovers Marianne and Jean-Paul spend their vacation in a villa on the French Riviera near St-Tropez. Marianne invites her former lover, Harry, and his teenage daughter to stay. Tension rises between them, especially when Jean-Paul seduces Penelope.
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Lovers Marianne and Jean-Paul spend their vacation in a villa near St.-Tropez. The main feature of the villa is a swimming pool, stage for most of the action. After a visit Marianne invites former lover Harry and his teenage daughter Penelope to stay. Tension between the grown-ups rises especially when Jean-Paul seduces Penelope. The consequences are deadly.Written by
Peter Zunneberg <email@example.com>
"La Piscine" is about two impossibly beautiful people in various stages of undress having a lot of foreplay. Or so it seems. Jean- Paul (Delon) and his lover (or wife, not sure) Marianne (Romy Schneider) are vacationing in a friend's mansion in Saint-Tropez. Lots of sun, making out, and swimming.
Marianne's ex-beau, Harry (Maurice Ronet) calls to say he's in the area, and Marianne invites him and his nubile daughter Penelope (Jane Birkin) to stay with him.
It's obvious that Harry still desires Marianne, so there is automatic tension. Then Jean-Paul seduces Penelope. Soon tension leads to something worse.
"La Piscine" is a typical foreign film - the ideas are sometimes obtuse, and it moves slowly. It's also too long by as much as a half hour. It's hard to concentrate on the plot because the beauty of the stars, Delon and Schneider, and their incredible chemistry overwhelm the story - to the extent that one doesn't really understand Jean- Paul's attraction to Penelope.
What erupts is the suppressed anger of the once-suicidal Jean-Paul, the competitiveness between him and Harry, and Harry's jealous possession of his daughter, whom he only recently met. As Penelope says, he likes to have her travel with him because people often think she's his mistress.
Schneider and Delon were a famous real-life couple but had broken up about five years earlier. Their chemistry is undeniable, and it's heartbreaking to think about what happened to her. Both actors give very "movie" performances - nothing overplayed, many subtle, nonverbal reactions. All of the acting is good, and the conflict scene between Harry and Jean-Paul is excellent.
"La Piscine" is considered a classic, but I believe many Americans had a hard time with it due to its languid pace and a tendency to look for action rather than psychology. Enjoy it for the beautiful photography and beautiful actors, if nothing else.
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