Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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In many ways 'the' French film. Terribly chic and well lived people rattle about on the coast, until passion gets ahold of them and it gets kind of wild.
Intricate, twisty and steamy French thriller. I prefer the remake.
It is very slow moving and probably somewhat overly long but the presence of good actors and the insinuating and unobtrusive camerawork make it for enjoyable experience. And even though the movie doesn't leave any questions unanswered still it provides a good food for thought the flavour of which you will likely enjoy after you've reached the end.
While its eye-pleasing visuals highly resemble to a David Hockney painting, the film reveals itself to be less translucent, more consistent. It is an eye-filler pleasure, both in its setting and cast, its inherent sensuality, and its iconic couple, being the handsomely charismatic young Alain Delon and the beautiful Romy Schneider. Though, the pool of 'La Piscine' shows its depth in a perhaps familiar tale which rises from its depicting of the usual human flaws to a tragic extremity. A part of the charm of the picture is also its ambiguous moral color.
Young and beautiful Delon and Schneider are Marianne and Jean-Paul, a wealthy couple spending a torrid summer in a borrowed villa.They are lovers and cannot keep their hands off each other. However, apart from the sex, they do not seem to have much to do or say to each other. Their common friend Harry happens to be in the neigborhoud and they invite him over, with his pubescent daughter Penelope (played by Birkin, who was well over twenty at the time, but definitely looking younger).
The arrival of the second couple adds considerable sexual tension. Harry and Marianne were lovers and Jean-Paul is jealous. Marianne acts ambiguously, flirting with Hurry. Jean-Paul toys with Penelope, creating a stifling, sexually-charged atmosphere. In the lazy summer days, nothing much happens, apart from the couples enjoying the pool of the title and inviting friends for a party.
However, the tension reaches melting point. Besides having a sadistic streak Jean-Paul turns out as a cold-blooded murderer, drowning Harry for reasons difficult to understand. The murder passes off as an accident, but Marianne is suspicious, She finds out the truth and considers leaving Jean-Paul, but the final frame shows them together. We can assume that sexual attraction is stronger than any moral instinct and that they will continue their frolic - at least until the passion lasts.
Very voyeuristic movie, with a Schneider at the top of her game, seductive yet fragile and very beautiful. Delon, wooden as usual still manages decent interpretation. Barkin is terrible, could not act.
The 2015 remake "A bigger splash" is vastly inferior, from the choice of cast to the plot development. Swinton is a far cry from luminous Schneider, having only a fraction of her allure. Johnson is a bad as Birkin and less believable as a teenager. Only Fiennes makes a more engaging Harry, fleshing out a part than in this movie is more ambiguous.
What this sensuous, provocative and elegant French film does so remarkably well is sustain a constant tension in the air between its characters, be it of a sexual nature or unspoken thoughts that are conveyed mostly through meaningful looks and glances.
Boy, not even my buddy Alain Delon could save this one. Slow, meandering, stagnant and emotionless. If they cut out a half hour and actually took a moment to develop these characters past their superficial fronts this could have been great. Instead, they throw out board statements 3/4ths in the film (re: suicide attempt) and expect you to just pick up on it and go with it. Everybody felt insincere and bland, huge disappointment.
French movies are weird. Too long, moving slowly, unclear points, awkward dancing (ok maybe it was the 60's) and porn-like scenes. The most exciting part was POSSIBLE SPOILER the murder
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian [UK]
A tour de force of sexual longing and controlled suspense.
"La Piscine" is a slow jam of a character study that, at first, introduces itself to be a wet dream of summertime eroticism. But while it's sexy, and is propelled by an ensemble of sexy stars, it isn't as much interested with sex itself as it is with the sensuous tension that arises from the in-between. It stars Alain Delon and Romy Schneider (who were in a serious relationship from 1958-1963) as Jean-Paul and Marianne, a pair of eye-catching lovers vacationing in their friend's St. Tropez villa for some needed time off. Jean-Paul is a writer suffering from the setbacks of writer's block; Marianne is a prosperous reporter in dire need of a period of relaxing indulgence. An animal attraction between the two gives their relationship an unwavering excitement - we could imagine them spending the rest of their lives at this poolside bungalow, catering themselves to perpetual afternoon rendezvous, chilled liquor, and sultry exchanges for an eternity.
But the earthly heaven they're currently basking in comes crashing down when Marianne receives a call from Harry (Maurice Ronet), a friend of the couple who dated Marianne long before she met Jean-Paul. The latter is apprehensive when faced with the idea of the man interrupting his leisurely holiday, but it's clear that Marianne holds no grudges in response to the past relationship - gleefully, she invites him to the sun-drenched home, his vampy daughter (Jane Birkin) in tow. Upon arrival, they all, expectedly, get along like old friends, to a point. But as days go by and past frustrations begin to resurface after years of being kept hidden, the situation takes a turn for the deadly.
Directed and co-written by Jacques Deray, "La Piscine" is a languorous dramatic thriller that bears the scent of a film we anticipate to lustily build until it reaches a blistering climax that rips our berets off. But alas, a ferocious closer never reaches us; it's a tense ride never relieved. At two-hours, we want nothing more than to be rewarded with tempestuousness that serves as a malignant reflection of the subdued drama before it. And yet, "La Piscine" stays slow and thoughtful, cinematic aspects that are fascinating until we decide that we'd prefer it if our patience were actually paid off. It's made with great style and great care, and features universally capable performances from its beautiful cast. I'm just not so sure Deray, along with co-screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriére, realize that mood and fashionability can only go so far before you have to inject a movie with some dramatic weight.