Jean-Louis Trintignant is Nicolas, a quiet, put-upon bank teller. On impulse one day, he seesa pretty young woman (Jane Birkin) and puts a very unsubtle move on her. It works. Thistransforms Trintignant’s life, especially once he confides to his crippled writer friend (Jean-Pierre Cassel). The latter begins to live vicariously through Trintignant, directing his every move.Our hero is soon sleeping with one woman after another, and through them making theconnections that see…to his meteoric rise socially and financially.
There is no doubt that, at a certain level, this 1973 tale is male wish-fulfillment at rathergrotesque level. Every woman Trintignant goes near, from Birkin to legend Romy Schneider,utterly falls to his charms, no matter how he treats them. At the same time, some unorthodoxcamera move and editing fillips constantly remind us that we are watching a film, that this is afantasy. And though the film is a comedy, it is a comedy laced with real and shocking pain anddarkness.
The soundtrack is mono, and there simply isn’t much to say about it. Barring one momentwith loud background hiss, the sound is clean and undistorted. So the job gets done, and therearen’t any of the pitfalls of stereo remixes.
The aspect ratio is 1.66:1 from the looks of it, and non-anamorphic. The picture is grainy andsoft. Dirt, speckles, scratches and other forms of damage crop up all the way through, and thecolours are rather faded. The contrasts and blacks are decent, and there isn’t any edgeenhancement to speak of, but the overall effect is rather underwhelming.
An audio interview with director Michel Deville is provided with a very condensed texttranslation. The sound on this is atrocious. There is also a text interview with Deville. Also here:the trailer, a still gallery, and filmographies (not the advertised bios) for Deville, Trintignant,Birkin and Schneider. The first two levels of the menu are scored.
A very dry, often sour comedy, that nevertheless pulls back from utter blackness. Excellentwork from all concerned with the film. If only the transfer were a bit more impressive.
Special Features List
- Audio Interview with Michel Deville
- Text Interview with Michel Deville
- Still Gallery