28 April 2017 | dbdumonteil
The indiscreet charm of the bourgeoisie
A cursory look at Michel Boisron's filmography and you know what you are going to watch:it's pure commercial stuff ,sometimes entertaining ("Le Chemin Des Ecoliers").Always jumping on the bandwagon,he made a "yeah yeah" movie ("Cherchez L'Idole" ),a spy thriller in the wake of James Bond ("Atout Coeur A Tokyo Pour OSS 117"),a fairy tale after Demy's "Peau D' Ane " ("Le Petit Poucet),and so on....
The Office Catholique Du Cinema advised their flock against this movie which lauded degenerate ways, free love,and above all ,who laughed at the sisters ,their school and their obsolete methods and their religious upbringing: the scenes in the sectary school are nevertheless the funniest in the whole movie ,with absolutely gorgeous Sassard (by far ,my favorite girl) who braids her hair before letting it hang down !Her "cousin"'s visit under a nun's watchful eye ,her being expelled from this place where you are carefully taught ,because ,as father Roquevert thinks ,she laughed in the chapel (you cannot be always crying in the chapel,can you?)
At first sight ,it appears as a woman's lib manifesto as well as a defiant attitude against a stilted society .But it is not so .Boisrond's movies- see also "Comment Epouser Un Premier Ministre " or "La Leçon Particulière" - may lampoon or challenge the establishment ,but they do it cowardly.All his characters move in wealthy milieus :Julien's father ,himself a womanizer ,owns a recording studio,Agathe's father is a chemist ,Helene 's folks are famous virtuoso musicians (Roquevert cast against type is hilarious).And if Julien is cynical ,if he may scandalize, he will take his exams and he will do his military service (1959 ,it was Algeria war ,all the same).The last sequence ,which takes place in a jail ,epitomizes reaction: a young soldier in uniform who has some kind of church wedding,everything to reassure the God - fearing and the right- thinking.
As for the girls' "crime" ,it is too gentle,devoid of black humor ;we are in a sanitized world ;even the dreamlike scenes suffer from a lack of imagination .
Delon's career really took off with Clement's"Plein Soleil" aka "purple noon" which was fortunately around the corner.Sassard's abruptly ended with Chabrol's "Les Biches";too bad her beauty did not grace the screens after 1968.
Two Paul Anka songs (including his big hit " Diana" ) are heard:the connection with the plot escapes me,I fear.