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Thursday, November 10, 2016

La Piscine (1969)

A writer (Alain Delon) and his mistress (Romy Schneider) are vacationing at a friend's villa for the summer on the French Riviera. Their quiet solitude is broken when her old flame (Maurice Ronet) and his teenage daughter (Jane Birkin) drop by to visit for a few days. It's a recipe for disaster. Directed by Jacques Deray (BORSALINO), this is an elegant stylish low key thriller. The four protagonists are remarkably shallow yet completely fascinating. Tanned and oiled and lying in the sun like lazy reptiles, there's an unwholesome atmosphere of decadence in the sunlight. One suspects that there's a moral rot under those reclining  mannequins and it isn't long before it starts oozing out. But under that amoral facade they feel, just like the rest of we plebeians. I could have done without the film's last shot which left a bitter aftertaste for me but other than that, I pretty much basked in the film. A big thumbs up for Jean Jacques Tarbes' glistening lensing and Michel Legrand's sensual underscore. Skillfully remade last year as A BIGGER SPLASH. With Paul Crauchet and Suzie Jaspard.

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