Rosalie is amicably divorced, dividing her time between her mother's house, with her siblings and small daughter, and César's. He's self made, a scrap iron king, outgoing, amiable, in love with her. Enter David, an artist and Rosalie's flame before her marriage. In a quiet, brooding way, he seeks to reclaim Rosalie. César's jealous outbursts and attempts at cunning backfire and send Rosalie into David's arms. César keeps trying: he buys Rosalie's childhood seaside vacation home as a gift, wins her back, then must ask David to join them so Rosalie will be happy. When Rosalie discovers César and David's complicity, she again asserts her freedom, leaving the men alone together.Written by
CESAR AND ROSALIE plays up a liberal-minded homeostasis, which archly transcends our insularity concerning gender roles
French filmmaker Claude Sautet's sixth feature, the title refers to an unmarried couple, César (Montand) is a successful scrap merchant and Rosalie (Schneider), a divorcée who maintains an amicable relation with her ex, Antoine (Orsini), a painter. But the unbidden return of David (Frey), Rosalie's first love, casts a shadow in the status quo, inaugurated by a foolhardy competition of speed.
Rosalie becomes oscillating between César and David, a quintessential dilemma of choosing between the one she loves the most and the one loves her the most, any inconspicuous outward sign can alter her inner decision in a trice, and through the portrayal of a magnificent Romy Schneider, viewers is well-disposed to forgive Rosalie's caprice, being a beautiful woman, her trumping card is her absolute freedom, refusing to be mired down in any insalubrious compromise, whether when she is fed up with César's vulgarity and petty maneuver or the time she finds herself marginalized in their ménage-à-trois tryout.
David and Rosalie are on the same frequency, they understand each other's feelings, and their rapport has a pure and consonant quality that everyone hanks after with his/her partner, but on the other hand, Rosalie and César's relation is more prosaic and realistic, because of the money factor, an amour-fou César is very much disposed to splurge on all his money just to please her, to buy a painting from Antoine, to recompense the damage he has wreaked on David's studio (incidentally, David is a graphic artist), to buy back Rosalie's family holiday house on the island of Noirmoutier, those costly gestures irrefutably soften Rosalie's resolution, hardly can any woman resist a man's testament of love like that, not to mention Yves Montand imparts eloquent panache into César's almost innocuous single-mindedness, and even evokes an air of sympathy in the long run in spite of his unbearable machismo
David is the more ambiguous type, he loves Rosalie but not necessarily wants her, Sami Frey's well-bouffant handsomeness makes him fittingly inscrutable but in fact, he is not dissimilar to Rosalie, has his own volition cannot be violated. To set the film apart from other crops dealing with the love-triangle quagmire, Sautet and his co-scriptwriters go out on a limb to envision a scenario where an equilibrium between the nouveau riche and the artist is miraculously established in the third act (which, ill-fatedly, received a rushed collection of montages in company with a voiceover from Michel Piccoli), contradicts any malignant foreknowledge in terms of its ultimate fallout. Exuberantly tarted up by its retro-flair and throbbing dynamism, plus a beneficent coda, CESAR AND ROSALIE bewitchingly contends against the volatile drama in its center but also plays up a liberal-minded homeostasis, which archly transcends our insularity concerning gender roles and delivers us from the usual deluge of hokum, that is a real blessing.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this