4.19.2011

L'amour


An image from the, um, climactic scene of Louis Malle's Les Amants (The Lovers, 1958), the latest film in my chronological year-by-year pass through film history.  The controversy surrounding this film's release is perhaps better known than the film itself--in the U.S., for example, it inspired Justice Potter Stewart's famous statement on defining obscenity: "I know it when I see it."  Ginette Vincendeau points out in the essay that accompanies the Criterion DVD that "what shocked critics so much at the time was not Jeanne's adultery (a staple of French film and theater) but the fact that the film refused to demonize her for it."  It's a lovely, delicate film, as this shot indicates, and one that would be an important hinge in the transition from the 1950s French "tradition of quality" to the New Wave. 

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