Pauline à la plage (1983)
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Beneath the philosophical dialogues of love, character, and behaviour, lies one of Rohmer's more brutal look at the morality of his characters.
Eric Rhomer's Pauline à la plage (Pauline at the Beach) is a talky French film that fits into one of my favorite movie genres, which I call the "stolen season". Characters find themselves thrown together during a vacation(in this case, the end of summer in Normandy), build relationships, and may never see each other again. It's a temporary idyll. I'm just discovering Rhomer, but wow can he write characters. I was riveted, even though this was more or less a slice of life, a small relationship story with a good-looking but hardly majestic backdrop. Pauline is a 15-year-old only dabbling in summer love, but her role is that of observer and arbiter of what happens with the adult characters, her desirable cousin Marion who seeks a romantic ideal, Marion's old boyfriend Pierre who wants a second chance, and the older and possibly less than sincere Henri Marion falls for. Each character has their own ideas about love, and Pauline, through her inexperience, asks pointed questions, reveals hypocrisies, and doles out no-nonsense advice (if anyone will listen). Arielle Dombasle gives an affected performance as Marion, but the deeper you get, the more you may think it is the CHARACTER'S affectation, not the actress'. It fit. The others are more naturalistic, and Amanda Langlet as Pauline comes across as a real winner, -who sadly did not go on to a big career. I can only hope that like Pauline in all things, it was her choice.
Absolute masterpiece of film making.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #363 in Doubling the Canon
This movie ranks #372 in Cahiers du cinéma - Yearly top 10s