In a France frightened by the rise of the far right a couple of weeks ago ,"le combat dans l'ile" seen today has a contemporary feel.The hero,Clément,played with talent by a deadpan Jean-Louis Trintignant,is a rich young man,who severs all links with his family ,except his wife Anne (Romy Schneider)and becomes part of an extremist group,which recalls the O.A.S..Their short-sighted philosophy considers that Occident is in jeopardy because of the socialists and the commies and they multiply the assassination attempts.Betrayed by his instructor,Serge takes refuge in his old friend Paul's house (Henri Serre),a socialist and a pacifist.
Shot in black and white ,with beautiful forest landscapes,this is an overlooked movie.Overshadowed by the new wave movies that were released by the dozen at the time,it could not appeal to the "conventional" audience either.Its slow pace,its rather risqué subject may have repelled most of the people.But it's about time to restore it to public favor.The story may be a fight between two men for a woman;but it is also the clash between two ideologies.
It proves that Romy Schneider was a great actress well before her heyday in the seventies:here,she definitively relinquishes her former insipid roles,the likes of Sissi to a modern woman.Henri Serre,who was Jim in Truffaut's "jules and Jim" gives a heartfelt and sensitive performance.Too bad he fell into oblivion soon after it.
Alain Cavalier started strongly with "le combat dans l'île" ,continued in the same vein with "l'insoumis" (1964)(starring Alain Delon and Léa Massari),but was disappointing afterward.Only "un étrange voyage" (1980) and "le plein de super"(1975)
are interesting.But "Therèse" redeemed him !
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