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aka - Seven Days... Seven Nights
France 1960
Directed by
Peter Brook
95 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Moderato Cantabile

Co-scripted by Marguerite Duras who was responsible for the gilt-edged Nouvelle Vague classic Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), Moderato Cantabile fits well within the style’s existentialism-tinged aesthetic.  Jeanne Moreau  plays a bored, well-to-do housewife, Anne, who becomes fascinated by the murder of a woman in a nearby bar-café.  She meets a man, Chauvin (Jean-Paul Belmondo) who shares her fascination and the two speculate on the circumstances which led to the killing whilst toying subliminally with the idea of an affair. .

The film, which reeks with Camusian angst, belongs to Moreau who won a Best Actress award at Cannes for her performance. Belmondo on the other hand does little more than act enigmatically taciturn. The film is by no means a major work of the New Wave school and at heart is typical of the seemingly perennial fascination the French have for the “brief encounter” but Brook, a leading British theatre director best known for his stage production of  'Marat/Sade', making his film debut and his cinematographer, Armand Thirard, create the sense of philosophical and emotional alienation well. 




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