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Delphine's traveling companion cancels two weeks before her holiday, so Delphine, a Parisian secretary, is at loose ends. She doesn't want to travel by herself, but has no boyfriend and seems unable to meet new people. A friend takes her to Cherbourg; after a few days there, the weepy and self-pitying Delphine goes back to Paris. She tries the Alps, but returns the same day. Next, it's the beach: once there, she chats with an outgoing Swede, a party girl, and a friendship seems to bud; then, suddenly, Delphine bolts, heading back to Paris. As she waits at the Biarritz train station, a young man catches her eye; perhaps a sunset and the sun's green ray await. Written by
Marie Rivière first encountered Éric Rohmer's work in the early 1970s. She wrote a letter to the director, expressing an interest in working with him. This led to small parts in some of his films, culminating in this full collaboration with Rohmer where Riviere's contribution to the screenplay was so extensive, she received a co-writing credit. As such, the screenplay was actually just a framework for the actors as practically all the dialogue was improvised. Riviere would actually go on to make a documentary about Rohmer which she completed in 2010, just months before the director's death. See more »
The Green Ray is certainly a strange fish - quite simply it's about a single girl's (almost)wasted summer, going on holiday 3 times, and each time finding herself bored and frustrated, and ultimately an outsider. We see scene after scene of holiday makers having a good time, and poor Delphine just not feeling at ease. She is somewhat opinionated, for example in the vegetarian lecture - we've all had to sit through one of those, and liable to burst into self-pitying tears, but Delphine never the less gets my respect for her refusal to opt for second best.
Very few directors would be brave enough to make a film like this, but Rohmer pulls it off magnificently, and in the process delivers one of his finest movies. I can see why some viewers might find it a waste of time, but having been on a couple of solo holidays in the past I can sympathise with Delphine's predicament. Plus The Green Ray rewards the patient with a truly poetic finale.
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