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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

A single father (David Niven) and his 17 year old daughter (Jean Seberg) are spending the summer on the French Riviera. The wealthy father changes mistresses on a regular basis and they both lead idle lives of parties, nightclubbing, drinking and casinos. But when a mature woman (Deborah Kerr) comes into their lives, the daughter sees it as a threat to their lifestyle. Based on the novel by Francoise Sagan, Otto Preminger's film was unenthusiastically received (at least in English speaking countries) when first released. Fortunately, time has been kind to the film and its reputation has been considerably enhanced in the ensuing years. It's a darkly poignant tale about narcissism and how the "me" lifestyle of its two self centered protagonists leads to tragedy when they play with an innocent bystander who doesn't play by their rules. After the disastrous SAINT JOAN, this was the film that showed that Seberg was indeed an actress and this film was instrumental in Godard casting her in BREATHLESS. The film is in CinemaScope and color but Preminger frames the story in B&W. With Mylene Demongeot, Georffrey Horne, Juliette Greco, Walter Chiari, Martita Hunt, Roland Culver and Jean Kent.

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