Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jean Seberg, David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Mylène Demongeot, Geoffrey Horne
Director: Otto Preminger
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Cool and introspective, Otto Preminger's sleek, stylish Bonjour Tristesse is one of his most understated films. Jean Seberg stars as a spoiled teenager who acts with a high-society sophistication beyond her years, and dapp... more »
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Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 06/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This stylish film is one of Otto Preminger's best. The French New Wave has influenced him in his opening shots, but only on a visual level. This is pure Hollywood on ever other level. The melding of the two styles works perfectly and begins by setting the stark mood in stunning black and white widescreen shots of 1958 Paris. The present is painted in shades of grey and silver, where Cecile portrayed by the beautiful Jean Seaberg moves aimlessly thought her pointless upper crust Parisian life. Only when she encounters her father David Niven later in the evening does the past seep in on the edges of the cinemascope frame in vivid color and finally takes over moving us from the present to last summer on the Riviera. The device is used several times as we move from past to present and finally at the end of the film it creates a stunning effect once you know what suddenly happed to Cecile and her father last summer. The thing that changed everything forever and allows Preminger's camera to linger in the last frame of the film on Jean Seaberg as she wipes away the make-up from her perfect face.
David Niven is perfectly cast as Raymond the aging (...) father of Cecile. He has the cool style and humor of a man who can't commit to any woman and treats his daughter like a playmate rather than his child. His particular talents as an actor are that he seems to be playing the "David Niven" character in most of his films but here in `Bonjour' as he often does in so many roles he makes a nice little twist on the "character". He catches you off guard to wrench his and the audiences emotions and prove once again what a good actor he is.
At first Deborah Kerr also seems to be playing her role by rote but it is just a ruse to set us up for her fall. As does Niven she too digs deeper in to her persona as Anne Larson and carries the film to its surprise ending. She is a joy to watch as a film actress and here she is particularly wonderful.
The French actress Mylene Demongeout is delightful as Elsa, Ramon's summer plaything. She is in fact `Brilliant!" in the role.
Geoffrey Horne is decorative and serviceable in his role as Cecile's beau who awakens her (...) .
Jean Seaberg who with her short cropped spiked hair in certain shots reminded me of Sharon Stone has that kind of blonde goddess look that Miss Stone possesses. She was only 19 when she made the film and in the hands of her director she presents us with a sensitive and spellbinding performance as Cecile. She is at once a teenager in turmoil and a young girl on the verge of becoming a woman. This is a delicate high wire act that the young Miss Seaberg executes with charm and elegance. She is festinating to watch and just right for the role.
The subject matter is even today a little shocking and indeed this is one of the films of the 1950's that put the sin in Cinemascope. Despite the restrictions of the day or because of them filmmakers of that time were challenged in ways they are not today. Challenged to be inventive and insinuate things that we were too innocent or too naive to know happen in the world. Those filmmakers knew that the imagination is more vivid and titillating than what they might show. It was good that the antiquated production code of the Hayes office crumbled in the 60's but with it's passing we lost a whole vocabulary in film. Here is a wonderful example of the meeting of the Movies and 50's cinematic innuendo that serves this delicate story to a tee. I think "Bonjour Tristesse" is `Brilliant!'"
An Impressive Film in all Aspects! Why?
Paulo Leite | Lisbon, Portugal | 03/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film has several elements that are worth noting. First, it is an accurate account of the empty, amoral, flamboyant and insensitive life in the French "high-life" during the late 50's/early 60's. Told in flashback, the story shows the way the central characters behave, have fun, hurt people and get to a point when "have fun" is just a way of forgetting.The whole cast is excelent. David Niven is the most perfect "late life" bachelor who is cool about everything. Jean Seberg is absolutely beautiful as a teenager who practically lives as a woman... the chemistry of the two characters (father and daughter) is fantastic (and very puzzling). Deborah Kerr has also a great role as a sophisticated woman who doesn't get to understand the games going on between father and daughter.The film has a beautiful cinematography. It opens in a dark black and white while all the flashback scenes are in the most fantastic colors - a perfect example how cinematography serves to enhance the character's point of view and (also) tell the story at a visual level.The final scene is something that will stay in your memory for a long time as a great example of a great conclusion for a story that is rich and well written.This film is a serious study of aloofness, emptyness and amorality in a way that only Hollywood could tell. It shows that money can buy off some consciences while, deep inside, some consiences cannot be bought. A trully great cinematic experience!!!
This DVD edition has no extras (except for trailers). The image quality is first rate. So is sound quality. The opening titles (by Saul Bass, no less!) is gorgeous! The cinemascope cinematography by Georges Perinal begs to be viewd in a big screen. The music score by the great Georges Auric ("Rififi" and "La Bele et la Bête") is top."
Charming story with a good twist in the end
Maeve of Tara | Ireland | 01/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read the novel well over thirty years ago, in Europe, when I was fifteen, but did not get to watch the movie until tonight. I wanted to see it for a sit-down stroll through memory lane, and never expected to be touched by the story and its morale. You see, when I first read the novel, I did not care about it; I was then a fifteen-year old who was dealing with a much harsher existence than the seventeen-year old Cecile's (marvelously portrayed by Jean Seberg), who had the freedom and the money to drive her own car, to smoke, to dance, and hobnob between Paris and the French Riviera with her soft-hearted, caring, and still a child-at-heart, dad. Thus her poor little rich girl's woes, primarily consisting of keeping her dad's love to herself, was boring as well as infuriating. I realize now that I got to read the novel again to reexperience the characters in the manner originally presented by Francoise Sagan.
From the film version I watched tonight, I did not get the sense that it's >>>an accurate account of the empty, amoral, flamboyant and insensitive life in the French "high-life" during the late 50's/early 60's."
Pembleton | UK | 11/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Premminger was a superb director who was greatly appreciated in his day but for some reason is relatively ignored today. Bonjour Tristesse is by far his best and most underrated film, it is a melodrama of sorts but if you're a fan of Douglas Sirk movies like Imitation of Life and Written On The wind then you will love this. Based on the novel of the same name by Francoise Sagan, (apparently regarded as the French`Catcher in the Rye') it's an intelligent and moving film about a daughter,(Seberg) jealous of her father's, (Niven) new lover, (Deborah Kerr.) There's much more to this movie than meets the eye. A black and white present day with the past in colour, the relationship between Seberg and Niven, dubiously close and intimate, the countryside and woods in front of the house, haunting and almost surreal in their depiction. Jean Luc Goddard was apparently a huge fan, Seberg's character in Tristesse was imagined as a continuation in A Bout De Souffle. Deeply moving, intelligent and beautiful, it's an absolute classic that will grow in stature, the Premminger reappraisal begins with this movie."