Robert Enrico was at his best during the sixties ,"les aventuriers" (1966) and "tante Zita" (1967) ;although deemed "commercial" at the time,these two works have something of a dirge.Actress Johanna Shimkus dies in the former -and her funeral under the sea is one of the most extraordinary sequence of the French cinema in the sixties- ,and has to cope with her aunt's death in the latter.Both feature François de Roubaix's sublime scores.
Afterwards,Enrico 's career became eclectic and erratic:"ho"(1968) which featured Jean-Paul Belmondo and Shimkus again was clearly uninspired and "le boulevard du rhum" was not adequate a vehicle for Brigitte Bardot's career then on the wane.He won a cesar for "le vieux fusil" ,but if the first third which enhances Romy Schneider's frail beauty is quite moving ,what remains ,the castle ,complete with dungeons,secret passages and two-way mirrors ,recalls Louis Feuillade's silent movies circa 1914.
"Pile ou face" recalls the worst Chabrol movies.Two stories intertwines and do not sustain interest: has a man (Serrault) killed his wife?Who pulls the strings in a drug affair among the young men of means?Robert Enrico,who directed the two great movies I mention at the beginning of my comment with taste and sensitiveness,has called it a day here.His two actors,Serrault and Noiret("le vieux fusil" hero),hog the stage and drown him out.Generally the French critics were laudatory as for their performances ,but I find them boring and irritating:Noiret has never been so vulgar,he who can act with finesse .
"Au nom de tous les miens" (1983) from Martin Gray did something to restore Enrico's reputation,but he never found back his state of grace of the mid-sixties.
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