EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|BENVENUTA (director/writer: Andre Delvaux; screenwriter: from the novel La confession anonyme by Suzanne Lilar; cinematographer: Charles Van Damme; editor: Albert Jurgenson; music: Frédéric Devreese; cast: Fanny Ardant (Benvenuta), Vittorio Gassman (Livio Carpi), François Fabian (Jeanne), Claire Wauthion (Inge), Mathieu Carrière (François), Philippe Geluck (Father), (Mother); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jean-Claude Batz/Renzo Rossellini; Cinematek-PAL format; 1983-France/Belgium/Italyin Italian and French with English subtitles)|
|"It's the last film the
great director made as magic realism."
by Dennis Schwartz
Belgium filmmaker Andre Delvaux ("Un
Soir, Un Train"/"Appointment in Bray"/"The Man Who Had
His Hair Cut Short") bases this baroque passionate
love story on
Suzanne Lilar's La confession anonyme.
It's the last film the great director made
as magic realism (blurring the
lines between fiction and realty in lyrical ways).
Young filmmaker François (Mathieu Carrière) visits the recluse older
author Jeanne (François Fabian) in her Ghent apartment
and asks her to tell him more about her main character
(Fanny Ardant) from a scandalous fictional love story
written twenty years ago, that he wants to make as a
film. At first denying that the Benvenuta
character is based on herself, the novelist soon opens
up and tells the earnest filmmaker about the young
pianist, Benvenuta. She tells when Benvenuta was on a
concert tour in Italy, sleeping with her roommate Inge
Wauthion), and how she met
in Milan the older married imperious magistrate Livio Carpi (Vittorio Gassman) and how boldly he took her
in the ritzy Milan hotel, in a red decorated room, and how that began a long
doomed affair--one that brought back her incestuous
impulses for her father (Philippe Geluck).
The pic serves as a mystical study of love,
comparing love to religious rituals and while being
critical of Catholicism, it declares at one point
that 'the sweetest thing about love is its
violence.' The mystical message is delivered by
Gassman, who tells his receptive young lover that 'In the sexual act, I never
look for anything but the soul.'
Like in all Delvaux
films, there's much to dwell on that might not at
first be apparent, from its philosophical references
to the neo-Platonists and the poet Rilke, and to the
writers Kafka and Henry James, and also to its musical
interludes that include Mozart's "Adagio From Fantasy For
Piano," Robert Schumann's "Fantaisiestuck Nr 1" and
Brahm's "Variations On A Theme By
Paganini." It's a complex and moody love pic, that
loses some flow because it's too schematic,
nevertheless its brilliance can't be denied.
REVIEWED ON 8/21/2013 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ