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Seed ideas and stir emotion. Capture moments, meaning and magic. Make sense of the world. Was to French cinema as Manet s Olympia was to French painting the personification of the gait, glance, and gesture of modern life. Her darting brown eyes and enigmatic moue were the face of the French New Wave. Her candid sensuality and self-assurance, not to mention the suggestion that she was always in control, made her the epitome of the New Woman.
From Orson Welles and Luis Bunuel to Joseph Losey and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Moreau was the muse to the greatest directors of world cinema. Surprisingly, this quintessence of French femininity had an English mother, a dancer at the Folies Bergere. Her French father, a hotelier and restaurateur, upon learning that his daughter likewise had theatrical ambitions, slapped her upside the head. Inflamed by the desire to prove him wrong, she enrolled at the Conservatoire de Paris at 66, and joined the French National Theatre Populaire at 69. By her twenties she established herself on stage as a leading lady of the Comedie Francaise. Less a conventional screen beauty than an elemental presence on screen, Moreau was possessed of rare earthiness and fire that gave her both the depth and light mere lacking in actresses like Brigitte Bardot.
The Lover The Lyceum Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh
Although by the late 6955s Moreau had appeared in more than a dozen films, she did not make an impression until she played the faithless wife in a pair of 6958 movies by Louis Malle, Elevator to the Gallows and The Lovers. In the latter, she was a bourgeois wife who abandons her husband and family for her lover. In one ecstatic scene, Malle focuses on her face as she achieves orgasm, quite controversial at the time, even in France. Moreau was 85. The world was smitten. So was Malle, one of many directors including Truffaut and Tony Richardson and William Friedkin with whom this free woman and freer spirit was romantically involved.
If Alain Resnais, producer-director of Hiroshima, Mon Amour, may be classified a member of the French new wave, then he also must be listed as riding its crest. For his delicately wrought drama, which had its local premiere at the Fine Arts Theatre yesterday, is a complex yet compelling tour de force as a patent plea for peace and the abolition of atomic warfare, as a poetic evocation of love lost and momentarily found, and as a curiously intricate but intriguing montage of thinking on several planes in Proustian style. Resnais is not merely concerned with the physical aspects of a short (two-day) affair between a Gallic actress, in Hiroshima to make a film, and a Japanese architect. He also explores the meanings of war, the woman's first love, and the interchange of thoughts as they emerge during the brief but supercharged romantic interlude. A viewer, it must be stated at the outset, needs patience in order to appreciate the slow but calculated evolvement of the various levels of the film's drama, despite its fine, literal English subtitles. Neither M.
Resnais nor Mlle. Duras are direct in their approach. For the first fifteen minutes, our lovers, in intimate embrace, seemingly are savoring the ecstacies of their moment.