Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|3 Films by Louis Malle - Criterion Collection|
Au Revoir Les Enfants / Murmur of the Heart / Lacombe, Lucien
Actors: Lea Massari, Benoît Ferreux, Daniel Gélin, Pierre Blaise, Aurore Clément
Director: Louis Malle
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
A four-disc box set showcasing director Louis Malle's loose trilogy of acclaimed films about the loss of innocence and modern France. Murmur of the Heart is about a 15-year-old boy growing up in Dijon in the 1950s and his ... more »
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Wonderful, chilling films that are so un-Hollywood
Robert J. Crawford | Balmette Talloires, France | 03/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are dark psychological films that examine seemingly normal people in the most unusual circumstances, from a vacation of sexual awakening to the choices that individuals made during WWII.
I was utterly rivetted by all three of these films when I saw them. Murmur of the Heart is about a boy and his mother, who have gone on vacation alone in the South of France. He is an intelligent if callow mama's boy and his mother, who is an extraordinary though aging beauty, is seeking something she can never quite grasp in her many extra-marital affairs. There is an aching sexual tension between them, a source of the kinds of secrets that take years to resolve on a psychiatrst's couch. It is a genuine masterpiece sure to generate controversy.
Lacombe Lucian is about a chamelion-like man who becomes a collaborator after being rejected by the French resistence (I reveal nothing here). It is about how sleaze, in the wrong circumstances, can flower into the greatest evil. Though it is the weakest of the bunch, it is still a 5-star piece of work.
The third film, Au Revoir les Enfants, is a poignant film about a friendship that grows across a cultural divide, jew v. catholic. The setting is a boarding school during the war, and the jewish boy is a fugitive from the German occupiers, who would send him to a concentration camp in an instant. Slowly, we watch the tension and fear grow, along with the love between the two boys, one of whom is playing with power in the most childish ways. I wept at the end of the film.
If anything could convince us capitalists (and I am one) that the "market" (i.e. Hollywood) does not always result in "optimal" results (i.e. what sells in mass distribution is "best"), we should watch these films: they are from a protected market and would never have been made by a machine such as Hollywood; they are lower budget, and do not asire to be blockbusters. Yet their quality is so high that they are a gift to art of the ages and will live on as some of the finest fictional work of the 20C in my humble opinion.
Three of my favorite films finally on DVD!
Allan Brain | Houston, TX USA | 03/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wrote a review of this release earlier, but it seems to have disappeared. Fortunately, these wonderful films have not. They've been among my favorites of all time for decades. "Murmur" is probably the best "coming of age" film ever made. It has everything from philosophical angst in the midst of petty shoplifting to, well, something no other "coming of age" film has. But despite the controversial nature of that part of the movie, this film was something of a sensation even when it played in the Midwest in the early '70s. It's funny as hell, but it is also very wise and in the best traditions of French films about life and love, including particularly family life. It will have you laughing and crying.
I don't think "Lucien" ever made it to VHS. It's also "coming of age" but in a different way. It's especially timely in these days of young kids getting caught up in military service
that they do not completely understand. Like "Au Revoir", it's set in the WWII period, whereas "Murmur" is set in the '50s.
"Au Revoir" is another great film with a different "coming of age" theme, like "Murmur" involving friendship and family and like "Lucien", also about choices. This is one of the most beautiful movies about friendship ever made. There are several scenes that will have you transfixed, including some, like the Charlie Chaplin excerpts, that are included in extras.
I haven't seen the extras yet, but as soon as I heard about this release, I pre-ordered it. These are sensational stories and unforgettable characters. Malle made a lot of films, but these are his best by far, and most of the critics, including the crankiest, agree that they have stood the test of time and are now classics of the cinema.
I waited back in the '80s to get these movies on VHS. I was pleased to give my VHS copies of "Murmur" and "Au Revoir"
to a friend as soon as I got my DVD set.
Life's rich pageant
Flipper Campbell | Miami Florida | 05/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Malle box set contains "Murmur of the Heart" (1971), "Lacombe, Lucien" (1974) and his triumph "Au Revoir Les Enfants" (1987) -- all remarkable films set in France. They are in color, with Criterion's usual first-rate transfers (widescreen, enhanced). These films, taken as a trilogy, argue for Malle's inclusion as one of the great directors of the century's second half. They are humanistic works -- uplifting in many places and deeply sad in others. The performances Malle gets from his players are uniformly rich.
Descriptions of "Murmur" usually begin and end with the incest between the teen hero and his youthful mother, but most of the time the film serves up a comic, life-affirming look at growing up in 1950s France. Biographer Pierre Billard, who gives an excellent talk about Malle in the set's extra-features disc, says the French debate over the incest scene quickly morphed into a larger debate over censorship. Malle, he says, "courted scandal."
"Lacombe, Lucien" also brought controversy. The story of a brutish French teenage who joins occupying Germans in hunting down resistance fighters was condemned as soft on collaborators. Malle, who loved documentaries, employed a distanced, non-judgmental tone that acknowledged the humanity of the blood-simple turncoat.
Malle moved to the United States in the late '70s, creating some notable English-language films ("Atlantic City," "Pretty Baby") and some bombs ("Crackers"). His late '80s homecoming inspired more criticism. Malle's years in the States had alienated his countrymen. "They still haven't forgiven him for that," says Candice Bergen, who gives an otherwise upbeat talk about her late husband on the DVD. "It's horrible." (Malle died in 1995, in Los Angeles.)
The director, from a wealthy family, attended a Catholic boarding school during the occupation. Germans raided the school one morning, arresting the head priest and several Jewish children he'd been hiding. They all perished in the camps. These events provided the autobiographical backbone for "Au Revoir Les Enfants," often cited as Malle's greatest work.
It too dealt with collaboration. One of the box set's extras is an unusual character analysis of Joseph, the bitter kitchen worker who informs on the priest.
Other DVD special features include three in-depth audio interviews with Malle; footage of the director at work on "Murmur" and "Lacombe"; the 2005 interviews with Bergen and the biographer; and, in a nice touch, a copy of Charlie Chaplin's "The Immigrant," which the "Enfants" delight to in one of that film's many light-hearted moments."
Mr. Steiner | New York | 07/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Louis Malle was perhaps, the quietest, the most meditative, and yet also the most overtly political of the French New Wave filmmakers. Godard eclipsed him in creativity and Truffaut in human empathy, yet there remains a solemn and beautiful unity to Malle's work that often goes unrecognized.
This collection includes three films, `Au Revoir Les Enfants', `Murmer of the Heart', and Lacombe Lucien.' `Au Revoir' is about a Catholic seminary that hides some Jewish children during the Nazi occupation. It is apparently autobiographical, but that should not concern the viewer, for it remains a cinematic (and therefore fictitious) meditation on the possibility of a friendship in times of hardship. The film is unfocused, slow, yet very beautiful and affecting. Although there is something peculiar about the way Malle transforms Jean, the Jewish student of genius into an aesthetic object of exoticism. It reflects the nature of anti-semitism in France, which saw Jews as the enlightened `Other,' in contradistinction to the German conceptualization of the Jewish vermin.
`Murmer of the Heart,' is the outstanding member of the collection. It is a (I hate to say it) coming-of-age comedy, about a precocious young boy thrown into a wild and raucous wealthy family, where is brothers incessantly create commotion, and his brainless and beautiful mother participates in the chaos to the dismay of her husband, who is a gynecologist. Lea Massari is wonderful as the mother. The film is funny, elegant, and highly sensual and provocative.
"Lacombe Lucien,' is about why Fascism exists. It is a study of an adolescent who has no moral center, and blankly works for the Vichy regime and informs on members of the resistance. It is about nihilism, though the film's tone is never severe (perhaps regrettably). There are beautiful moments in this film, particularly of the interiors and that marvelous, yawning great dane. But the film simply goes on for too long. The last half hour of the film is simply devoid of any meaningful or stimulating content. It is a handsome failure.
A very nice collection of films on the whole, the extra features disc is just a way to raise the excessive price."