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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ophelia (1963)

When his father dies suddenly and his mother (Alida Valli) marries her brother in law (Claude Cerval), a young man (Andre Jocelyn) becomes obsessed with Shakespeare's HAMLET and its parallel to his life and is determined to prove they murdered his father. As directed by Claude Chabrol (LES BICHES), this is a highly stylized film. Beautifully rendered in artful B&W by Jacques and Jean Rabier, it strays easily from Shakespeare's play. Jocelyn's troubled son isn't as sympathetic as Hamlet, indeed he's a troublesome pain in the ass! Jocelyn's performance is also a bit of a mystery. Everyone else in the film acts in a naturalistic style while Jocelyn seems brittle and artificial. Not having seen Jocelyn perform before, I don't know if it's the actor or the performance. The title is a misnomer. Although called Ophelia, as played by Juliette Mayniel, she's an almost peripheral character often hovering around the edges (not unlike Shakespeare's play) and unlike Shakespeare's heroine, she isn't fragile. Actually, she's the strongest character in the film. An interesting experiment but not wholly successful. With Robert Burnier.

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