Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Samba Saravah

My French kick continues with a return visit to that charmer UN HOMME ET UNE FEMME, the big French success of 1966 - Pauline Kael had criticised it as a "date movie" as it was popular in a dubbed version as A MAN AND A WOMAN, but I simply loved it and Anouk Aimee as well, even if she had that annoying habit of fiddling with her hair and pushing it back all the time.

It is one of my favorite French movies with its photography changing from black-and-white to colors and to very beautiful sepia-tones. It was also director Claude Lelouch's biggest hit ( he served up more of the same the next year as VIVRE POUR VIVRE, a triangle with Montand, Girardot and Candice Bergen as more beautiful people living jetset lives). Here we have racing driver Jean-Louis Trintignant, and script girl Anouk Aimee, both widowed who meet when their children are at the same school in Deauville, so cue those soft focus scenes on the beach, the old man with his dog, the boardwalks, out on the boat as they hands gingerly touch, all set to the score by Francis Lai - what a best-seller that was, I used to play it all the time.

A lot of it seems improvised, like the restaurant scene with the children. Its certainly a new look at those upwardly mobile "getaway people" with their fast cars and boats, as featured in the then new colour supplements. Anouk is adorable here but it is hardly "acting" - despite being nominated for Best Actress that year (but we all knew it would be Elizabeth Taylor who won, deservingly this time) - she just had to fit in with Lelouch's cinematography looking cool in cars and boats and realising she cannot forget her dead husband - the hunky Pierre Barouh, who was her husband at the time (her marriage to Albert Finney was later), which leads to that great sequence I can watch over and over: the samba number "Samba Saravah" cut to the music, as we see Aimee and Barough horse-riding in the Camargue, she shampooing his hair etc as he sing sof his love for the Samba and those Brazilian poets who inspire him. Its a great sequence and on YouTube. Then we are back in the car and he finds out she still loves her dead husband ....

Lelouch did it all again in a western setting in 1977's ANOTHER MAN ANOTHER CHANCE which works quite well for me, with James Caan and Genevieve Bujold, as per my review at Bujold label, where it was amusing seeing horses and stagecoaches racing instead of racing cars. Lelouch also did a follow-up 20 years later A MAN AND A WOMAN 20 YEARS LATER which I have not seen but Anouk still looked marvellous while Trintignant had aged. I think I may rather want to stick with the original ...

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