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Pauline at the Beach (Pauline à la plage) [1983] [DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Amanda Langlet, Arielle Dombasle, Pascal Greggory
  • Directors: Eric Rohmer
  • Format: PAL, Full Screen, Dolby, Digital Sound, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Arrow
  • DVD Release Date: 12 July 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00028HC56
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,264 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

The third in French director Eric Rohmer's 'Comedies et Proverbes' cycle of films, this is a subtle, sun-drenched comedy about entwined holiday romances and the inconsistency and complexity of human relationships. Marion (Arielle Dombasle), a beautiful divorcée, decides to spend the last few weeks of summer at the family beach house in Normandy. She takes along her fifteen-year-old cousin Pauline (Amanda Langlet), a sensitive and fragile girl on the verge of womanhood. At the beach the two meet up with Pierre (Pascal Greggory), Marion's humourless and obsessive ex-lover, who offers to teach them windsurfing and introduces them to his friend Henri (Féodor Atkine). Marion soon falls for Henri, despite Pierre declaring his love for her. Meanwhile, Pauline has quietly become involved with teenage Sylvain (Simon de la Brosse).

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Pauline At The Beach is an intricately plotted film whose biggest pleasure is perhaps the way the story becomes so complicated; it's a bit like a knot that unties itself at the end leaving the piece of string as it was at the beginning, with just a few kinks even so. 15-year-old Pauline has certainly learnt something about human nature, which is the basis of the film, you might say. It is also slyly comic, her older cousin Marion being theatrical, superficially bright, and frankly a bit of a bimbo. She thinks she is so much leading the game, when really she is the one who in the end learns nothing, perhaps because she has completely outwitted suffering. We like her nevertheless, because her gestures and manner are often comical, right from the opening meeting on the beach with her old flame Pierre and new love prospect Henri. She is ludicrously camp and self-dramatising right from the off, to hilarious effect. It is one of Rohmer's most famous films, and is very typical, but to my mind doesn't quite match the very best, mainly because love is absent - unless one counts Pierre, who loves but is miserable - and also because the motor for the plot is a middle-aged libertine of little moral interest. The pattern is, in that sense, similar to Claire's Knee - for me at least, his films focusing more on younger characters are often more engaging; either that, or where the heart itself is more sizeably bound by the intricacies of the plot. Nevertheless it is a classic, and quite unique in tone and plot combined. The script could hardly be tighter, while seeming as if the discussions are as meandering as a rivulet in the sand.
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"Pauline At The Beach" (1983) is an interesting film that you are likely to enjoy, even if you are not one of Eric Rohmer's fans. If you are already an admirer, though, you will simply love this movie, due to the fact that it displays the reason why Rohmer is such a respected director.

Before talking about this film, a short introduction to Rohmer for those that are not familiar with him is in order. Rohmer (Jean Marie Maurice Schérer, born in 1920 in France) is part of "La Nouvelle Vague" (= "The new wave"), a movement that says that the director is an "author" and that as such, his personal signature is evident in his work. Among the most well-known films of this French director, there is a cycle of films called "Six Moral Tales", a series called "Comedies and Proverbs" (in which each film is based on a different proverb), and a third series entitled "Tales of the Four Seasons".

"Pauline At The Beach" (= "Pauline à la plage"») is the third film in the "Comedies and Proverbs" series, and the proverb around which it is centered is "Qui trop parole, il se mesfait". The plot is not difficult to follow, but it is interesting, specially if you pay close attention to the dialogues among the characters, a Rohmer trademark.

The main character is Pauline (Amanda Langlet), a young teenager that goes to the beach with Marion (Arielle Dombasle), a relative that has divorced recently and is ready for something new, in other words an affair. Pierre (Pascal Greggory), an old acquaintance and Henri (Feodor Atkine), a newcomer, vie for Marion's attention. Pauline thinks that Pierre is the right one for her cousin, but Marion has other ideas, preferring Henri.
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Format: DVD
This little gem could be re-titled The Game of Love and Chance (Le Jeu de l’amour et du hazard) after the Enlightenment play by Pierre de Marivaux in its depiction of a group of haute bourgeois young people on vacation on the northwest Brittany coast. Marivaux’s play depicts erotic games of seduction – partner swapping, role reversal and the like with characters debating love and morality in what is known as ‘marivaudage’. The rules of Rohmer’s game are laid out early on in a key exchange between the players – Marion (Arielle Dombasle) a beautiful fashion designer whose marriage is almost over, Pierre (Pascal Greggory) an old flame from 5 years before who didn’t assert himself then but is still jealously in love with her, Henri (Féodor Atkine) a lecherous divorced South Seas-based ethnographer, and Pauline (Amanda Langlet) Marion’s 15 year old cousin who is there simply to enjoy the beach. The exchange takes place at Henri’s house and is notable for giving each character the chance to state their idea of love freely and with no judgment on Rohmer’s part. We might prefer one character to another, but that says more about us than the characters. Rohmer draws his characters with his customary generosity and is aided by fabulous acting. Henri is completely honest about his selfish enjoyment of life and advocacy of free love, of enjoying each opportunity of erotic sustenance with scant regard for morality. A hedonist, he lives purely for the pleasure of the moment. His seductions and intrigues determine the intricate plot (Rohmer’s most involved storyline) and the consequent heartache felt by others, but they can’t say they weren’t warned. He may be a debauched libertine, but he is exactly what he says he is and women allow themselves to be seduced at their own peril.Read more ›
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