In 1917, the First World War is raging. Julien is from Luxemburg, so instead of having to go to war he studies piano in Paris. One day his friend Jacques, also a musician and now a fighter ...
See full summary »
Mathias is a Belgian linguist, living with French theatre producer Anne. After a quarrel about moral questions, they take a train to attend a congress. While Mathias sleeps, Anne disappears... See full summary »
In the sixteenth century, Spain occupies Flanders, an Inquisition enforces the faith. Aging writer and philosopher, Zénon Ligre, comes to Bruges using a false name and papers to serve as a ... See full summary »
Gian Maria Volontè,
A schoolteacher (Miereveld or "field of ants") is entranced by one of his students (Fran). Not being able to have his love fulfilled he tries to escape it and moves house and job. Working ... See full summary »
A vet meets a mysterious woman through a dating agency and moves into her large apartment. As the apartment fills with animals and insects, strange goings on and suspicions between the couple increase.
Christian de Chalonge
A passionate affair set against the intense encounter between a film-maker and a novelist. The story begins with young scriptwriter François tracking down the author of a once-scandalous ... See full summary »
A collection of sketches on prostitution through the ages. 1) "The Prehistoric Era": A caveman discovers that a cavewoman is more attractive when cave paint is applied to her face. And she ... See full summary »
Jacquot Demy is a little boy at the end of the thirties. His father owns a garage and his mother is a hairdresser. The whole family lives happily and likes to sing and to go to the movies. ... See full summary »
In 1917, the First World War is raging. Julien is from Luxemburg, so instead of having to go to war he studies piano in Paris. One day his friend Jacques, also a musician and now a fighter pilot on the front, invites him to spend a few days in his family's empty house in Bray. The housekeeper, a beautiful but mute woman lets Julien in, but his friend is late and he is obliged to wait. In the meantime, he starts reminiscing of the pre-war days spent with his friend and Jacques' girlfriend Odile.Written by
Filming the unfilmable, with Julien Gracq's assistance
This is a film of the novella by French author Julien Gracq entitled LE ROI COPHETUA, the English title of which is KING COPHETUA. The Belgian director André Delvaux worked closely with Julien Gracq to find mutually agreed ways to expand the story so that it would become cinematically possible, as the novella itself is essentially unfilmable. Delvaux loved making films of unfilmable books, as he often said, but this was the only one by Gracq which he attempted. (One novel by Gracq has been filmed, UN BALCON EN FORET (1978), and his only play, LE ROI PECHEUR, was filmed in Italian for Italian television in 1996, but neither of these films is available on DVD or video or has been reviewed for IMDb.) The reason why this film is called APPOINTMENT IN BRAY on IMDb is that its French title is RENDEZ-VOUS À BRAY. The Bray referred to is not Bray near Windsor in England, former home of Bray Film Studios, but a fictional village, Braye-la Foret, near Paris (the train station sign in the film adds an 'e' on the end of Bray, which the title of the film omits.) There is a real Bray in France named Bray-sur-Somme, but it is no connection with this story. This film when sold on DVD separately in France has no English subtitles, and the only way to get it with subtitles is to purchase the 7-DVD Collection of Delvaux's films, where all the material is subtitled. The DVD of this film has fascinating 'extras' including a joint interview of Delvaux and the film's female star, Anna Karina. In that remarkable interview, the two seem to be in love and in the middle of an affair (perhaps I am wrong, as Karina was married to Pierre Fabre at that time), and Karina is so charming, kittenish, naïve and like a giggling schoolgirl, that it is quite a revelation. (Gracq is not interviewed, but he was far too shy and reclusive for such a thing.) As for the film itself, it is a marvellously evocative story set in 1917, with flashbacks added (for the purposes of the film, not being present in the novella) to 1914. I have read the novella, which is haunting, brooding and brilliant in its descriptive power. It is impossible to convey all of that in a film, but a considerable amount of it comes through. In the novella, the sound of the guns at the Front is heavily stressed, and we hear that in the film also. The film has much less emphasis on the storm, the rain, the dripping leaves, the roaring treetops, and the eerie silence and darkness. (It is difficult to film darkness unless you want a black screen.) The male lead is played by Matthieu Carrière, who is perfectly cast as the charmingly innocent young man who has been summoned suddenly to Bray by telegram to visit his friend, who then never turns up. Karina is marvellous and does an excellent job in a part with minimal dialogue, where she has to convey much by mysterious silences, the way in which she carries a candelabra in the dark, her enigmatic failure to show emotion, and her sphinx-like refusal to communicate. All of that is fundamental to the story. For such a lively person, Karina must have had to try very hard indeed to suppress her natural vivacity and play the ghostly role of a character who never even gives her name. The film has a dream-like quality and a pervasive air of mystery, and is not only cinematically interesting, but important for those who love French literature.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this