Monday, January 26, 2009
Monday, 26 January '09: French movie magic from the 60's
Some movie nostalgia on this Monday morning. I can still remember what I was wearing the evening I saw A man and a woman/Un homme et une femme (1966 directed by Claude Lelouch)with my older cousins at a Johannesburg cinema in 1966. A pink coatdress a la Twiggy style, pale pink lipstick, lots of black mascara and tan baby doll shoes!
I suppose this was the most adult movie I (a romantic 15 year old) had seen to date. I still think the simple story of love - old love rememembered, new love emerging and the tug between the two - ranks as the most delicious love story on celluloid. Anouk Aimee (as the widow, Anne) was irresistible as she continually flicked her thick brown hair out of her eyes, cupped her chin in her hands or laughed shyly; Jean-Louis Trignant (as the widowed racing driver, Jean-Louis) was charming, sensitive and manly. The theme music is one that gets stuck in your head for days.
The story (in case you haven't seen this Award winning movie) is about a young widow and a young widower who meet at their children's boarding school in Deauville on the French coast. They begin to fall in love but they are both held back by the poignant recollections of their former loves: her dead husband; his dead wife. Memories of their past are interspersed with shots of the present. Then Anne leaves Jean-Louis unable to break with her past. Now what is a man to do under such circumstances? Take part in the Le Mans race, of course! Jean-Louis goes on to win Le Mans. Exhausted after his victory, throwing his racing helmet aside and suddenly convinced of his love, he leaps into his coupe and races back through a rainy night to Paris to meet Anne's train as it pulls into station. A knight dressed in armour, pennants flying, on a white charger could not have been more romantic than Jean-Louis behind the wheel riding to win his Lady Love.
I know what I'll be doing this evening: it's pizza, Un homme et une femme from my local specialist video rental and a Do Not Disturb message on my phone. Why don't you join me - wherever you are!