2 May 2004 | EdgarST
Céline et Julie, and Hélène et Sonia too...
A curiosity shot in 16mm, with the personnel working for free and using Brechtian acting techniques, the same year that Jacques Rivette released his fascinating story about other two femmes: "Céline et Julie vont en bateau". Paul Vecchiali though is a French director seldom mentioned in the circles of film buffs, but his name should be added to their ruminations, at least for this title, which relies upon the leading actresses' improvisations of dialogue and situations. Hélène Surgère and Sonia Saviange play two mature actresses living in a Parisian flat. While one still tries to work on the stage and in television, the other stays at home sewing dresses for a client or two: both Hélène and Sonia are alcoholics and little by little they are detaching from reality. Characters appear and disappear only to reinforce their isolation, while the story-telling recourse of change of fortune is mainly used as a joke. An experimental work that deserves more prominence, with outstanding work from Surgère and Saviange, who impressed Pier Paolo Pasolini so much during 1974 Venice film festival, that he cast both in his last film, "Salò or The 120 Days of Sodom", as one of the story-tellers and as the pianist, respectively, in which they pay a small hommage to Vecchiali's movie.