15 December 2020 | Red-125
What happens when all your friends are out of town?
The French film Le signe du lion (1962) was shown in the U.S. with the translated title The Sign of Leo. The movie was co-written and directed by
Jess Hahn portrays Pierre Wesselrin, who is a decent enough guy, and a talented violinist and composer. Pierre's weakness is that he doesn't really have a source of income. He drifts along by accepting gifts from his friends.
One day, he receives a message that he's become rich. Armed with that expectation of money, he borrows from his friends and throws a magnificent party. The only problem is that he didn't actually become rich, and now he's down and out.
Usually, he would just turn to his friends for help, but they are all out of town. It never occurs to him to get a job, or even play the violin as a busker. What he does instead is walk.
My next sentence about a Rohmer film should be "they talk, and then they talk some more, and then they keep talking." Not this time! What Pierre does is walk. Then he walks some more, then he keeps walking.
Jess Hahn is a fine actor, and the film works because we can believe what we see on screen. Quite a bit of this film takes place outside as Pierre walks. It would probably work better on the large screen, but it worked well enough on DVD. The movie has a good IMDb rating of 7.3. I thought it was better than that and rated it 8.
P.S. Watch for the incomparable Stéphane Audran in a small role as the hotel owner who turns Pierre out into the street when he can't pay his bill.