8 January 2007 | dbdumonteil
La Société et la Boutique
I hate to write that but I find it hard to relate to some Autant-Lara's movies.I had the same problem with "Le Marriage De Chiffon" and I hope pretty soon my good pal Writer's reign's comment will join mine and prove me I'm wrong!
A town in the provinces under Napoleon the Third's reign (legions of Autant-Lara take place in the nineteenth century: "Douce" "la Jument Verte" "l"Auberge Rouge ""Le Rouge et le Noir" " le Marriage De Chiffon" or at the beginning of the the twentieth : "Occupe-toi d' Amelie" "Le Diable Au Corps" )There are two social classes :the Society (aristocrats and top-ranking civil servants) and the Shop (minor officials,local tradesmen) .We will attend to-ings and fro-ings among these people , à la Marivaux,or à la Renoir ("Règle du Jeu")
In spite of a top-notch cast (Odette Joyeux,François Périer,Simone Renant),despite dazzling costumes and settings which are a feast for the eye,despite the lancers,a dance which is actually a duel between the two classes,"Lettres D'Amour" fails to excite me.Like "Mariage de Chiffon" ,it's a rehearsal for Autant-Lara 's "Douce " .It's too gentle,too polite,too affected to move me.
I like Autant-Lara when he is rebellious to the end ("Douce" "le Diable Au Corps" "L'Auberge Rouge" "Tu ne tueras point" ),not when he gives a compromise solution.Never Max Ophuls would have indulge himself such an ending where he keeps both parties sweet.