“The Bride Wore Black”: Truffaut’s homage to Hitchcock Joan Didion
Jeanne Moreau in "The Bride Wore Black"
FRIDAY, NOV 4, 2011 4:25 PM CDT
“The Bride Wore Black”: Truffaut’s delicious homage to Hitchcock
Jeanne Moreau plays the ultimate femme fatale in a summery, deceptive fable of a woman's murderous revenge
BY ANDREW O'HEHIR
What begins as a French cinephile’s almost obsessive tribute to Alfred Hitchcock becomes progressively weirder, wittier and more Continental in François Truffaut’s 1968 “The Bride Wore Black,” which begins a New York run this week and will then play in many other cities. Truffaut is sometimes viewed as a relative lightweight among the company of big-name ’60s and ’70s European directors, and there’s no doubt his work is uneven. But I find myself appreciating his double-edged, seductive films more and more on repeat viewings. With its summery, Mediterranean surface, Jeanne Moreau as the ultimate femme fatale heroine and a knife-twisting tale of murderous revenge and unexpected romance, “The Bride Wore Black” is well worth rediscovering.
The first thing we see in “The Bride Wore Black” is a printing press churning out black-and-white images of a topless Moreau, but that’s one of several misdirections in this movie, since the story is almost entirely chaste, and the color photography of famed cinematographer Raoul Coutard (who shot Godard’s “Breathless,” Truffaut’s “Jules and Jim” and numerous other New Wave classics) is brilliant. With a deliberately obtrusive Bernard Herrmann score and its roots in a novel by Cornell Woolrich (whose short story “It Had to Be Murder” was the basis for “Rear Window”), “The Bride Wore Black” is more like a Hitchcock movie than some of Hitchcock’s actual movies, at least at first.
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------------------John Banville reviewing Joan Didion's new book BLUE NIGHTS in the New York Times
"Certainly as a testament of suffering nobly borne, which is what it will be generally taken for, it is exemplary. However, it is most profound, and most provocative, at another level, the level at which the author comes fully to realize, and to face squarely, the dismaying fact that against life’s worst onslaughts nothing avails, not even art; especially not art."
Ed here: I'd always half-assed believe in Boethius' "The Consolation of Philosophy" but as I get older I wonder. Manville lays out the contrary pretty effectively.