Bonjour Tristesse

94 minutes 2013

Jean-Luc Godard conceived Jean Seberg's character in Breathless as an extension of her role in this 1958 Otto Preminger film: the restless teenage daughter of a bored, decaying playboy (David Niven), she tries to undermine what might be her father's last chance for happiness, a romance with an Englishwoman (Deborah Kerr). Arguably, this is Preminger's masterpiece: working with a soapy script by Arthur Laurents (by way of Francoise Sagan's novel), Preminger turns the melodrama into a meditation on motives and their ultimate unknowability. Long takes and balanced 'Scope compositions are used to bind the characters together; Preminger uses the wide screen not to expand the spectacle, but to narrow and intensify the drama. With Mylene Demongeot, Geoffrey Horne, and Juliette Greco; photographed in Technicolor (apart from a black-and-white prologue and epilogue), mainly on the Riviera, by Georges Perinal.

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