6 March 2011 | Red-125
One of the earliest New Wave films
Les bonnes femmes (1960), directed by Claude Chabrol, was shown in the U.S. with the title The Good Time Girls. The film depicts the lives of four Parisian shopgirls. (I guess now we would call them retail clerks, but in 1960 they were shopgirls.)
The women are all looking for romance, and they do no one any harm, but their lives are not filled with the glamor and excitement that the term "good time girls" evokes. They go to music halls, public swimming pools, and the zoo. They let men cruising by in cars pick them up. They stay out all night and stumble half asleep into work the next day. One of them is pursued and courted by a mysterious motorcyclist.
All four young women are attractive. Three of them went on to have important careers in the French cinema--Bernadette Lafont , Clotilde Joano, and Stéphane Audran. (Audran later married director Chabrol,)
Although Chabrol is a superb director, and the actors are talented, the film just didn't work for me. The young women had vacant lives, they had no aspirations or dreams of something different, and they had a naiveté that was sad rather than charming.
This is a movie worth seeing if you have a particular interest in the French New Wave, in Claude Chabrol, or in the young actors who were not yet major stars. I wouldn't seek it out as casual viewing. We saw it on VHS, and it worked well on the small screen.