22 May 2017 | federovsky
Fascinating to watch, if not to follow
The paranoia of the self-perceiving mind was the basis of a kind of literary movement in France for a while. An amalgam of surrealism, popular psychology, and war trauma - Robbe-Grillet was one of its notables. Here, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays a kind of memory-muse, returning to a village occupied by the Germans after the war, purporting, at first, to be a missing resistance hero, but is rebuffed by the locals and constantly changes his story while making a laconic play for the man's widow, sister and maid.
The Sapphic trio of women are the film's chief feature, the camera picking out hundreds of gorgeous poses as they prowl uncertainly around bare rustic interiors. Trintignant underplays it, playfully, as does the director. It's never solemn, with dazzling washed-out images. A picturesquely shabby Czech village seemed to have been commandeered for the production.
The mutating story of the man and his fabrications, and the meaning behind it - presumably guilt - is less interesting than the creativity in the visuals, which are never less than striking, and in the editing, which is sheer artistic genius.