14 April 2020 | ulicknormanowen
A sailor's quest.
By and large ,the memories from the past ,the depictions (often told in letters) are filmed in color ;the return to the present is filmed in stark black and white .
For Guy Gilles,whose name is forgotten today , sweet memories are to be cherished , be they Fall in Paris or Summer on the seaside ,where his hero lives a fleeting love story ; the flashbacks, mainly in the first part,are so shorts ,it's often hard to differentiate the present from the past :but it makes sense when the character is wandering and one of his memories comes to visit him out of the blue.The daily life ,with the girls in their drab office ,is a return to routine mediocrity .
This kind of free-form movie is terribly dated today , a pure product of the notorious nouvelle vague and this arty work can discourage the most well-intentioned viewer .This is not a linear story but rather a series of frames of mind, of daydreaming ,with lots of voice over .
It might take place circa 1964 ;clues are given :"it's been nineteen years since war (WW2) is over ,just my age",says the girk;on the walls ,posters of Godard's "le mépris" and Malle's "le feu follet " (both from 1963) ; the soundtrack includes a horrible pop song by young Le Petit Prince "c'est bien joli d'être copains" from the yeah yeah era .The screenwriter/director spreads his story over about one year and a half.
Hints at the Algeria war (the director was born in Algiers ) make sense for the hero joined the navy for five years (and he never had to shoot a single time , although he saw a terrorist attack against a bananas seller);no flashback about the war , which came to an end in June 62,but "being in the navy , he repatriated "pieds noirs" (French colonials born in Algeria )" ; in Brest where the sailors would often spend their furlough , the director takes us to an almost shanty town (a thing of the past fortunately) , which is unusual in the nouvelle vague works which seldom displayed social concern.
There are three characters:
Daniel ,whose five-year enlistment comes to an end and who does not wish to join up again , hasn't found himself yet .The affair he had with Genevieve is ,as far as he 's concerned, one-sided ; after travelling a lot in his army days, it's hard to settle down in a routine daily life :we know nothing about his background although ,as he quotes poems of Prévert and Appolinaire , he must be somewhat educated .
Genevieve is a romantic girl ,who believes in love and who's longing for a marriage to her Summer flirt ; she's already in the typing club and ready to be a good housewife and a mother .She does not seem to realize there's a gap between her modest ambitions and Daniel's soul-searching.
And there's Daniel's friend ,a good guy he met in the navy (where he was probably a draftee),who tells us about his love for Paris .It seems that male friendship is stronger than love ,if one is to believe Daniel.The nouvelle vague was not really feminist : the portrait of Genevieve is revealing.
Some big names have cameos : Jean-Pierre Léaud ,a nouvelle vague habitué appears as a young man begging for some change ;Alain Delon and Juliette Greco play in the film the girls see in a movie theater (but I was not able to identify the movie,for these two have never played together to my knowledge ); I was not able to spot Romy Schneider but Jean-Claude Brialy exchanges a few lines with Daniel towards the end.
If you're going to enjoy this movie,do not forget it's largely experimental; a simple love story,it is not.