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Murmur of the Heart (1971)

Le souffle au coeur (original title)
As France is nearing the end of the first Indochina War, an open-minded teenage boy finds himself torn between a rebellious urge to discover love, and the ever-present, almost dominating affection of his beloved mother.

Director:

Louis Malle

Writer:

Louis Malle
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lea Massari ... Clara Chevalier
Benoît Ferreux ... Laurent Chevalier
Daniel Gélin ... Charles Chevalier
Michael Lonsdale ... Father Henri
Ave Ninchi ... Augusta
Gila von Weitershausen ... Freda (the prostitute)
Fabien Ferreux Fabien Ferreux ... Thomas
Marc Winocourt Marc Winocourt ... Marc
Micheline Bona Micheline Bona ... Aunt Claudine
Henri Poirier ... Uncle Leonce
Liliane Sorval Liliane Sorval ... Fernande
Corinne Kersten Corinne Kersten ... Daphne
Eric Walter Eric Walter ... Laurent's friend
François Werner François Werner ... Hubert
René Bouloc ... Man at Bastille Day party
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Storyline

This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than America in the 1990s. Thus, Laurent is unharmed by events which would irreparably shatter the self-esteem of a modern American adolescent: he gets drunk, he smokes, he has sex, he is smothered by his mother, he is ignored by his father, a priest makes a pass at him, he gets rheumatoid fever, etc. There's enough scandalous behavior in this film to make 100 made-for-TV movies, and yet this is a very happy and oddly innocent tale. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A souffle of a movie! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie, Clara states that she saw The Barefoot Contessa in Paris. During this early part of the movie, the French are fighting the war in Indochina. The final battle of that war, Dien Bien Phu, occurred on May 7, 1954, 4 1/2 months before The Barefoot Contessa was released. In addition, Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14th, also before the movie was released. See more »

Quotes

Freda: SInce this is your first time, I'll take off my bra. But you'll have to help me put it back on. You think I have a nice figure? Do you like me? I've put on some weight lately. The food's so good around here. I hear your friends are paying for this. Nice of them. Is it your birthday? What soft skin! Softer than mine. You okay? Frightened? Don't you worry. I'm very gentle. Everything will be just fine. Just do as I say. I excite you a little, don't I? Let me lie down and you get on top. Ha-ha. ...
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User Reviews

 
Moving, controversial but lovable film
13 September 2004 | by SylviastelSee all my reviews

Louis Malle perhaps has directed his most controversial film about Laurent and his complicated relationship with his mother. Because he is the youngest of three boys, he is still a virgin and coddled like the family baby. The film seems to last forever but in a beautiful moving way. We watch as his beautiful Italian vivacious mother seems to attract admirers even her own son. Without discussing the film's oedipal issues, the film has some very pleasant scenes and some that are not so pleasant. Maybe Malle is trying to bring reality of a young body's sexuality. His two older brothers are not the sympathetic or kind older brothers to him especially. Laurent is truly the film's most important character but his mother is definitely the most important figure in his life. As he comes of age, she has to grasp with losing him to another woman, the inevitable outcome of any mother-son relationship. We learn a lot about Laurent's mother too in this film. While sexuality is another theme in this classic film, there are touching scenes between the Laurent and his mother. As he finds himself attracted to other women, he becomes daring, insulting and even unlikable. I won't give away the ending of this film. But it's worth watching even today more than 30 years later, I cannot believe it's older than me. It seems like it could have been done today and that's why it's a classic film.


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Details

Official Sites:

Arte boutique [France]

Country:

France | Italy | West Germany

Language:

French | Italian

Release Date:

17 October 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murmur of the Heart See more »

Filming Locations:

Dijon, Côte-d'Or, France See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,160,784

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,160,784
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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