In 1917, the First World War is raging. Julien is from Luxemburg, so instead of having to go to war he studies piano in Paris. One day his friend Jacques, also a musician and now a fighter ...
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Mathias is a Belgian linguist, living with French theatre producer Anne. After a quarrel about moral questions, they take a train to attend a congress. While Mathias sleeps, Anne disappears... See full summary »
France, 1425. In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young Jeannette, at the still tender age of 8, looks after her sheep in the small village of Domremy. One day, she tells her friend... See full summary »
Lise Leplat Prudhomme,
In 1917, the First World War is raging. Julien is from Luxemburg, so instead of having to go to war he studies piano in Paris. One day his friend Jacques, also a musician and now a fighter pilot on the front, invites him to spend a few days in his family's empty house in Bray. The housekeeper, a beautiful but mute woman lets Julien in, but his friend is late and he is obliged to wait. In the meantime, he starts reminiscing of the pre-war days spent with his friend and Jacques' girlfriend Odile.Written by
André Delvaux depicts a strange world where the frontier between dreams and reality becomes blurred.
A not very accessible auteur,Delvaux is an acquired taste."Un Soir ...Un Train" is one of my all time favorites but "Rendez-Vous à Bray" well...Bulle Ogier and Anna Karina are the kind of French actresses I just cannot stand.I must say that,as Karina has few things to do here,she is quite good.
Delvaux knows how to create a mysterious disturbing atmosphere.Take the scene on the train: the woman's looks are enough to generate a strange feeling.No need to argue about "why ain't you a soldier whereas I'm fighting to put an end to all wars?" .
His technique is now really running well: the flashbacks almost always come from things the hero (Matthieu Carrière)spots in the mansion where he is waiting for a friend.Not that the trick is new: in their 1939 masterpiece,"Le Jour Se Lève" ,Marcel Carné and Jacques Prévert already pioneered the process (the teddy bear notably).But these ceaseless flashbacks - which made "Un Soir Un Train" even more impressive- really mesmerize the viewer who does not know where he stands anymore,in dream or reality ,in an old memory or in a movie...
The movie in the movie was already present in "Un Soir Un Train" : the scene when Montand and his companions enter the odd tiny movie theater and watch a weird film is arguably my favorite in that movie.In "Rendez-Vous à Bray" ,Delvaux uses some Louis Feuillade's footage :"Fantomas " was one of the big blockbusters of the WW1 years in France ;today some critics talk about "Feuillade's brainwashing" .
Delvaux seems to love popular literature :after the show,in the cafe ,Bulle Ogier tells us Souvestre-Allain's hero's tales in lavish detail (the director switches smartly from Sonia Danidov's madness to Karina's wandering in the corridors with skill);in "Un Soir ,un train" there was a short hint at Jean Ray's "Harry Dickson" .
Based on a Julien Gracq short story which I have not read,"Rendez-vous à Bray " is visually a splendor.But whereas "Un Soir Un Train" was really,in its last sequences, very moving ,"Rendez-vous à Bray" hardly touched my imagination the way his former work had done.
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