17 January 2007 | dbdumonteil
My title will enrage the highbrows,but ,after reading the notorious "Cahiers du Cinema" who on earth (and particularly in France) will
watch a Jean Delannoy film ,cause it's " inevitably bad" cause Godard and co have decided it is so?
"La Symphonie Pastorale" is a marvelous black and white movie.A simple story of a minister who takes on a little savage girl,Gertrude (a Dreyeresque name!) .For a short while ,it's got something of Helen Keller ,cause the heroine is blind when the story begins.But Delannoy focuses on the relationship between the man who's got four children and his protégée.Pierre Blanchar (it's probably his best part) and Michèle Morgan are at the top of their game and they give subtle performances.When the elder son (Jean Desailly)comes back,and falls in love with Gertrude ,the tragedy is in the air.The priest realizes he loves the girl in a way a father should not.
Delannoy takes advantage of the snowy landscapes and the frozen rivers,of the tiny church where the organ becomes a mediator between Gertrude and the young man ,of an excellent cast.
He has even got a sense of humor !There's a private joke .When they show Desailly the organ ,one of the men says "Amour,Delices et Orgues!" which was the title of a (very mediocre) previous film in which the actor was featured the same year.