“Bonjour, Tristesse”

Paleo Retiree writes:

Niven, Kerr, Seberg

David Niven, Mylène Demongeot, Jean Seberg

Pretty awesome Riviera-and-Paris-set adaptation of the once-notorious Françoise Sagan novel that’s a cross between something sophisticated (ie., “European”) and something mainstream for the broad American audience — half silly, but half genuinely daring. David Niven and Jean Seberg are a wealthy, amoral, blasé-and-carefree father and daughter; Mylène Demongeot is roué Niven’s current youthful plaything; Deborah Kerr is the earnest, older wet blanket Niven starts developing real feelings for. How will his spoiled, fun-loving-but-also-possessive sprite of a daughter react?

The film — directed in 1958 by Otto Preminger, from a script by Arthur Laurents — is clearly influenced by the Euro art movies of the post-WWII years. For an American film of its era, it’s stylistically playful, even edgy; unusually frank about sex, pleasure and money; and surprisingly willing to aim at unresolved and bittersweet tones. Laughable though some of its efforts at sophistication look today, the film also delivers real beauty and real bite. Fun watching the scenes set in the south of France from that era too — God, how I love what the Riviera once meant to world film audiences. Opening titles by Saul Bass; cinematography by Georges Périnal; music by Georges Auric; and with some appearances by Juliette Greco. Young movie fans who aren’t familiar with those names have a lot of fun exploring before them. 


About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog 2Blowhards.com. Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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6 Responses to “Bonjour, Tristesse”

  1. Toddy Cat says:

    Man, Mylène Demongeot was cute. Thanks for reminding me of a great movie from a great time.


  2. Toddy Cat says:

    Not really, but what I’ve seen, I’ve liked. Got to find more time to watch good stuff, and quit wasting time on garbage.


  3. Fabrizio del Wrongo says:

    Nice write-up. DVD went out of print years ago. I remember rushing to buy a copy when it did. You should have told me you were looking for it. Would have given you my copy.


  4. Pingback: On the Film Adaptation of Bonjour Tristesse

  5. Pingback: Movie Poster Du Jour: “Bonjour Tristesse” | Uncouth Reflections

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