Monday, July 27, 2009

Louis Malle - Le Souffle au coeur (1971)

Louis Malle - Le Souffle au coeur (1971)

Louis Malle-Le Souffle au coeur (1971)
| 1438.5 MB | Runtime 1:58:33 | color |
Language : French
Optional subtitles : English
Audio : mp3, 48000 Hz, 128 Kb/s, 1-ch
Video : XviD, 1550 Kb/s, 23.97 frm/s, 688x432 (1.66:1)

Louis Malle's critically acclaimed Murmur of the Heart gracefully combines elements of comedy, drama, and autobiography in a candid portrait of a precocious adolescent boy's sexual maturation. Both shocking and deeply poignant, this is one of the finest coming-of-age films ever made. (-DVD cover)

This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than America in the 1990s. Thus, Laurent is unharmed by events which would irreparably shatter the self-esteem of a modern American adolescent: he gets drunk, he smokes, he has sex (including incestuous sex), he is smothered by his mother, he is ignored by his father, a priest makes a pass at him, he gets rheumatoid fever, etc. There's enough scandalous behavior in this film to make 100 made-for-TV movies, and yet this is a very happy and oddly innocent tale. (

Young Laurent Chevalier, his mother & his roguish elder brothers break every taboo known to small-town 1950s Dijon: underage drinking, underage sex, blasphemy, incest, petty theft, adultery, art forgery, whoremongering, drunk driving... What more can you ask? Malle treats their escapades with such lighthearted sympathy & wit you can't help liking them. (

'Murmur of the Heart' is an experience that sneaks up on you like the combined years of one's youth. The subject matter is what the repressed might reductively characterize as simple incest. That is NOT what this film is about. It is about the elastic moment of adolescence. The strange, ugly, and beautiful contradictions of familial intimacy. A boy deperate to taste the pleasures of being a man - while stuck in an awkward inbetween physical, and pyschic geography. This is one of the strongest films in all of French cinema. (

Louis Malle perhaps has directed his most controversial film about Laurent and his complicated relationship with his mother. Because he is the youngest of three boys, he is still a virgin and coddled like the family baby. The film seems to last forever but in a beautiful moving way. We watch as his beautiful Italian vivacious mother seems to attract admirers even her own son. (

Without discussing the film's oedipal issues, the film has some very pleasant scenes and some that are not so pleasant. Maybe Malle is trying to bring reality of a young body's sexuality. His two older brothers are not the sympathetic or kind older brothers to him especially. Laurent is truly the film's most important character but his mother is definitely the most important figure in his life. (

This is the ultimate French counterculture movie. Somehow the way Laurent pleases himself with books and bebop recordings is simultaneously sophisticated and innocent. The Charlie Parker score is mesmerizing. (

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