Le Parfum d'Yvonne (Yvonne's Perfume) (1994)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
as Victor Chmara
as Yvonne Jacquet
as Dr. Rene Meinthe
as Yvonne's Uncle
as Cintra Barmaid
as Daisy Marchi
as Spaniel Headed Man
as Tilleuls Patron
as Daniel Hendrickx
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Critic Reviews for Le Parfum d'Yvonne (Yvonne's Perfume)
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Audience Reviews for Le Parfum d'Yvonne (Yvonne's Perfume)
A beautiful, sensuous film about a summer of love between two people who are not what they pretend to be. Yvonne (Sandra Majani) and Victor (Hippolyte Giradot) are two beautiful young people who meet and fall in love. He poses as a Russian Count and she is an aspiring actress. The cinematography is breath-taking, the scenery is magnificent, the actors beautiful, the love scenes tender and romantic. The story, however, is a bit muddled. Why he pretends to be someone else is never explained (except in the film's synopsis). Why she responds as she does when he proposes to make her dream come true, why the shocking turn of events at the end when Victor returns to Geneva and reunites with Rene (Jean-Pierre Marielle) are never properly explained. As one who is not a francophone, one must assume that some things were left untranslated, or else the connecting scenes were edited out. The way the scenes cut back and forth between the present and the reminiscences of that summer was also a bit disconcerting. Victor may be older, but not by much. In spite of these flaws, a superb film that kept this viewer enthralled. As a whole, a rewarding, if somewhat confusing, film. Four stars.
Following director Laconte's trail led here, to this intriguing tale of two summer lovers, wrapped in luminous cinematography, generously filled with gorgeous soft-erotica, set against a 1950s provincial Swiss lake-resort town where Bourgeois idle away within their closed, elegant world.
Aspiration to acceptance into such aristocratic circles drives the pretensions of the three main characters, each disguising a baser background. Girardot, avoiding poverty and French conscription, lives frugally in a boarding house but mingles elsewhere as a monied Russian Count.
He's instantly smitten when snapped right up by the utterly mesmerizing Yvonne (Majani). Looking well-bred, she's truly a woman kept -by an elderly man of means (Marielle) who, though gay, is fully enamored by her.
As with many quality French films, subtle acting here is the slow reveal. Majani's skills in seduction let Marielle put behind him the homosexuality he despises in himself. Seeing Majani toting Girardot as replacement SugarDaddy, Marielle curses her for it (via double-entendre) and sets upon self-destructive behaviors, insulting the gays and Bourgeois who would be his sad future without her. Yet age-wise Marielle knows to cherish his waning moments with Majani - and to mentor Girardot, far too inexperienced to comprehend the ruin an obsession with Majani may bring.
There's many purposely unanswered mysteries about the trio's pasts, but the more intriguing mysteries here are what true emotions Majani feels now - and what future awaits emotionally-enslaved Marielle and Girardot, who can know only the scent that lingers of this woman, but not truly know the woman herself.
Yet another mystery is that, in real life, the here-captivating Majani disappeared from public view; Googling reveals nothing factual of her, except this role.
Superlative transfer quality of outstanding, almost dream-like, cinematography and set-pieces throughout.
RECOMMENDATION: Intelligent, sexy, emotional, lush-viewing. As such, well recommended.
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