Rutger Hauer's biggest, joyful smile is for a bathtub.
This is one of very few successful screen transpositions of an introspective literary work. The dialogue is sparse and in two languages but the film while making small adjustments here and there conveys all the internal monologue of Joseph roth's novella.
Hauer. Probably his best performance (although I also like his understated character in lady Hawke). He is the icon of a getleman drunk.
The photography. natural, unobtrusive, realistic.
The cast: A very heterogeneous looking cast that manages to fit in well and act natural in their respective roles.
For a very Catholic director, Olmi is very kind to almost the women in the movie, including extras, and they look attractive without losing their real, unpolished authenticit
The Not So Good
The film is almost real time,with long contemplative moments, to the point that sometimes the flashbacks have more action that the main scene. For all its photographical and acting beauty, the going can be slow, and watching Hauer drinking one longs to join in. I haven't counted them, but I suspect that matching the movie glass for glass would be lethal (especially the Cafe'-Calva followed by an Absinthe in the morning)
Hauer is a character living and dressing in the 1930s filmed in 1980s Paris. And it fits seamlessly, the same way that the real, surviving old bistrots and locations fit in their modern surroundings. Olmi has taken advantage of a phenomenon familiar to us all walking in cities and performed a sleight of hand trick, aided by the costume design of Ms. Marchand that emphasizes the continuity between periods to blend characters in.
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