La Chambre Verte (The Green Room) (1979)



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Movie Info

The Green Room (La Chambre Verte) is perhaps the least well-known of Francois Truffaut's 1970s films. Truffaut himself stars as Julien Davenne, a WW I-era journalist obsessed with death. As his friends drop like flies on the battlefield, Davenne's obsessions overwhelm him. At war's end, he devotes all his energies to building a special shrine to his fallen comrades. No matter how elaborate this shrine becomes, it will always pale in comparison to its counterpart in Davenne's own home, constructed in the memory of his late wife. He briefly comes out of his morbid shell when he falls in love with Cecilia Mandel (Nathalie Baye), but she proves to be a disappointment to him, driving him farther and farther into necrophilia, not to mention an all-consuming death wish. The Green Room was adapted from a short story by Henry James. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Nathalie Baye
as Cecilia Mandel
Jean Daste
as Bernard Humbert
François Truffaut
as Julien Davenne
Jean-Pierre Moulin
as Gérard Mazet
Jane Lobre
as Mme. Rambaud
Thi Loan Nguyen
as Apprentice Artisan
Anna Paniez
as Little Girl at Piano
Antoine Vitez
as Bishop's secretary
Annie Miller
as Geneviève Mazet
Marie Jaoul
as Yvonne Mazet
Monique Dury
as Monique Editorial Secretary
Laurence Ragon
as Julie Davenne
Marcel Berbert
as Dr. Jardine
Guy D'Ablon
as Wax Dummy Maker
Christian Lentretien
as Speaker at Cemetery
Henri Bienvenu
as Gustave the usher
Alphonse Simon
as One-legged man
Jean-Pierre Kohut-Svelko
as Disabled man at saleroom
Josiane Couëdel
as Nurse at cemetery
Roland Thénot
as Disabled man at cemetery
Serge Rousseau
as Paul Massigny
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Critic Reviews for La Chambre Verte (The Green Room)

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4)

"The Green Room" may deserve a special place in the annals of misbegotten literary adaptations.

May 6, 2017 | Full Review…

It is a most demanding, original work and one must meet it on its own terms, without expectations of casual pleasures.

Nov 13, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Truffaut's lack of range as an actor is not helped by the script's purple prose.

Nov 13, 2007 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Truffaut is attempting a philosophical disquisition on the presence of the lost, the ways in which the dead remain a part of our lives, but his theme can't escape the morbid eccentricity of his characters.

Nov 13, 2007 | Full Review…

If Truffaut is going into [Henry] James scholarship, he should cite his sources, not his own fantasies.

Dec 12, 2017 | Full Review…

More neurotic than poetic.

Feb 22, 2008 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for La Chambre Verte (The Green Room)

"The Green Room" is one of director Francois Truffaut's most obscure features. Deservedly so, perhaps. Truffaut himself stars as Julien Davenne, a 1920's loner who writes obituaries for an outdated journal that only senior citizens read. He is obsessed with his lost loved ones, most notably his wife Julie (who died very young) and the fallen members of his World War I squad. Maintaining intense reverence for the dead is his top concern, to such an extreme that he's greatly offended when a widowed friend dares to remarry. The film hammers on Julien's fixation for 90 minutes, offering little development beyond a growing relationship with a younger woman (Nathalie Baye) who shares his pervasive grief. His principles are also tested with the death of a one-time close friend whom he now detests. But by the time he decides to create a large-scale, physical shrine to the departed (the honored include many of Truffaut's own heroes), Julien seems more demented than sympathetic and you'll probably feel an emotional distance from his crusade. Truffaut gives a solid, credible performance, though his character's reserved nature doesn't make any great demands on him. A second unusual casting is a deaf boy as Julien's son Georges -- this was the actor's only credit, so there may be an interesting tale behind the choice. (The common ground between the Julien/Georges bond and the doctor/boy relationship in 1970's "The Wild Child" should be noted.) Given previous classics like "Two English Girls" and "The Story of Adele H.," it's no surprise that Truffaut shows an expert touch with period drama here. And the score makes lovely use of Maurice Jaubert pieces. "The Green Room"'s narrow plot just feels too repetitive and claustrophobic, however.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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