A typical French movie about very little

A reader writes:

I had to laugh in agreement at your point about modern European cinema. [I said it exempifies the idea of the Last Man.] Studying French, and having lost interest in a Hollywood escapism that is too contrived and just too plain cheesy to offer me any realistic chance of escape, Iíve turned my interests to European films. Hoping for some little peopleís tragedies, which would seem the ideal fit for constrained European budgets, all I have found is low-budget inanity.

A French film aired a couple of weeks ago here on the ďethnicĒ channel (SBS) which perfectly captures this inanity. I canít recall the title, but here is a short synopsis: A casually reserved, bald but attractive, middle-aged French audio engineer employs an attractive, slightly scatter-brained but efficient, female house cleaner. He quickly grows fond of the girl and when she asks to move in for a while until she sorts out personal finances and finds a new apartment he is reluctant but accedes. An attraction develops; they begin a relationship; take some time off to stay with one of the manís friends in a seaside village; the girl meets someone else; undergoes an implausible instant personality change and is completely impervious to, indeed, unaware of, the sobbing commitments uttered in the whirlwind romance with the older man; the older man is bemused but not angry; he makes no comment or effort to discover the whys and wherefores but simply sits on the beach to ponder it; and the film just ends.

The girlís personality change comes out of nowhere, which is no great sin, but it fails to make any larger point whatsoever, and neither does the manís stoic forbearance with which the film abruptly ends. Completely pointless; which is sad because up until the last five minutes it had the makings of a decent film. But the ending betrayed a commitment not to art, but to a stylized ďartificial reality TV.Ē Would that this were an isolated case, but such inanity is commonplace in European cinema.

Thankfully, the ABC here airs nightly British films from the 40s and 50s, which serve as a reminder that low-budgets are no obstacle to portraying man in all his earthly tribulations. If only European directors would take notice and end the fascination with inanity.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 02, 2006 02:02 AM | Send

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