Pas sur la bouche – Alain Resnais

Pas sur la bouche - Alain Resnais

Yes, I’m on a Resnais kick.

This is recent, and the man is old (hey, it’s true), but it does not deter from the pleasure here.

In some way, this is a young film, by an old man. Young because it’s a musical, and musicals are one of the early cinematic narrative forms. But there is no dance here, so the interest is elsewhere.

Beware, this is a French film, made for the French, in the inferred theatrical tradition. A comedy of manners without the overtly social satire. It is a weird thing to see this today as nothing but mild entertainment.

So yes the songs are good, the story is simple, and the acting is charming. Nothing too extravagant. The three-act structure has a play-within in the second act, a sort of excuse to tone down the general theatricality of the thing.

The last act takes place in a bachelor apartment wonderfully decorated. There is a renaissance painting in the middle of the room of a man and woman embracing (just so you know what the thing is about).

But there is one sequence at the end that is so gratifying. The fated lovers kiss with the camera panning the woman’s steps as she approaches her man. We see her legs magically lift and we cut to the man holding his lover, both wondering how in the world she managed to levitate. They are obviously both standing on a rotating platform as they spin horizontally with the camera panning. What a nice touch. Light.

This is no light Woody. Not even light Resnais. Just a French confection, of interest only to the producer who regals himself on annotating a national theatrical tradition.


Categories: Notes

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