Saturday, June 13, 2009


This melodrama, another film from the Lionsgate Alain Delon boxed set, takes place in the French countryside in the mid-1930s. Delon is a drifter who meets up with the title character (Simone Signoret) one day while she's toting a heavy load to her home, across a river accessible only by a bridge that is brought up and down by her nasty sister-in-law. He helps her home, explains that he's jobless because he's just gotten out prison, and she hires him as a handyman. Soon, they have begun a May-December romance--it's unclear how invested he is in it, as he's also seducing a neighbor girl, but the widow is quite swept off her feet by his attentions. He soon admits that he's an escaped murderer and, thanks to the meddling relatives whose main motivation seems to be sheer spite over the widow's happiness, a huge police comes combing the countryside for Delon. An unhappy ending is in store. Delon and Signoret are both well worth seeing here, but the whole thing feels more like a draft of a movie: its 90 minutes are sluggishly paced and nothing much happens in terms of action or character development--unless I missed something, the motivations of the relatives and villagers are never made very clear, and Delon (perhaps on purpose) remains a cipher: is he using Signoret or does he have real affection for her? Is he a criminal to be despised or a good person at heart? Even the widow is mostly a blank to us. But of course, any Delon film of the 60's and early 70's is worth seeing for his handsome visage and sexy demeanor. [DVD]

No comments: