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This review is from: Pauline at the Beach (Pauline à la plage)  [DVD] (DVD)I could watch the films of Eric Rohmer till les vaches come home.
This one is a sly charmer from 1982 concerning the young Pauline, who is on holiday on the Normandy coast with her beautiful cousin Marion, where they run into old and new male friends. Unlike some Rohmer films, this one has an early central plot twist which turns proceedings into an almost Ayckbournian comedy of sexual mishaps and misunderstandings.
Like all his films though (of which, luckily, I still have many to see) this is beautifully and - a Rohmer trademark - naturally acted. Arielle Dombasle, of whom I`d not heard before, is sunnily upbeat as the blonde, slightly flighty divorcee Marion, while the teenage Amanda Langlet strikes just the right note of youthful curiosity, mixed with the gauche yet placid dignity of a happily blossoming young woman among experienced adults. In her first film she carries its heart with discreet elan.
The men respond to these vivacious performances with energetic wit, in particular Pascal Greggory as Marion`s besotted suitor and ex-lover Pierre, a shily handsome idealist who will keep getting the wrong end of the stick.
Pauline too has her beau, and the older, womanising Henri juggles Marion and a local beach sweet-vendor whose affections are as changeable as the tides...
Like not a few of Rohmer`s other films, this brief comedy-drama plays out like one of Maupassant`s ironic, world-weary tales, only perhaps a little less cynically.
If you don`t much like talky French cinema (in which case you`re unlikely to be reading this) then you probably won`t take to it. If however, like me, you can`t get enough of French films, and love Rohmer and his witty, lovestruck fables, this will be manna from heaven.
A sheer delight.