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.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sundays and Cybele, 1962

A discovery from a favourite year of mine, 1962, which has so many great movies - see label. I had read great reviews on Serge Bourguignon's film LES DIMANCHES DE VILLE D'AVRAY (or SUNDAYS AND CYBELE) but never saw it till now. Having recently seen its child star Patricia Gozzi in RAPTURE, a 1965 drama by John Guillermin, I was interested to see her in this earlier acclaimed movie (it won the Best Foreign Film of 1962 Oscar).

Pierre is an Indo-China war veteran, psychologically scarred after killing a child. Cybele is a 12 year old girl abandoned by an uncaring father at a small orphanage. After a chance meeting causes Pierre to be mistaken for Cybele's father, they begin a series of Sunday outings together in which they discover a trusting innocent happiness - though their make-believe world is threatened when a neighbour spots them together and word spreads among Pierre's acquaintances about his illicit relationship. With incredible central performances from Kruger and Gozzi as the two damaged people finding solace and childlike love in each other's companionship, this is a beautiful, heartbreaking tale of the redemptive possibilities of love that will live in you long after you have seen it.

For once, the blurb gets it right. This is a leisurely paced absorbing tale. Hardy Kruger is of course sterling as ever, as he was in a favourite Losey: BLIND DATE in 1959, plus THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY or in Hawks' HATARI! or Aldrich's THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX and he pops up in various other films like Montgomery Clift's last THE DEFECTOR, and Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON. In his 80s now, and acting until recently, he is a key European player. 

Patricia Gozzi on the other hand only appeared in 7 seven films before retiring from the screen and is perhaps the finest child actress I have ever seen. I caught her 1965 RAPTURE recently, a long-unseen drama, but I did not care for her rather annoying character in that, but she is utterly captivating and fascinating here. It was a big hit for Serge Bourguignon and a key 1962 film, but he soon was doing lesser films like the long-unseen THE REWARD in 1965. I liked his 1967 Bardot film, TWO WEEKS IN SEPTEMBER, which seems to have been his last credit - seee BB label. Nicole Courcel also scores as Pierre's girlfriend. There is no hint of inappropriate sexuality here, but the locals misunderstand their innocent relationship. 
The ending when it comes is inevitable, but we remember a fascinating oddity of a film, which still looks fresh now over 50 years later; the lyrical black and white photography and images conjured up by Heni Decae fascinate too. One of my discoveries of the year then. 

1 comment:

  1. I doubt if I will see it this year (only 2 more nights to go) but I really must watch this.