Screen Time: 80%
Age: 11 years old
Directed: Jeanne Moreau
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama
The summer of 1939. Marie, at 13, goes with her parents to visit her grandmother in a small town near Avignon. Although rumors of war reach the countryside, it's an idyllic place. Marie's parents are constantly making love. Surrounded by sexual frankness, Marie fancies herself a woman and develops a crush on Alexander, the town's young Jewish doctor. She's despondent when he treats her as if she were a child. After Marie's father abruptly leaves for a few weeks to assist with a relative's harvest, Marie's mother and the doctor disappear into the woods for hours at a time. Marie tries to spy on them. When dad returns, what will the family and the doctor do?
Easily overlooked masterpiece, 10 June 2006
Directed by no-one less than Jeanne Moreau, this movie, known for it's
quality as one of the standards in the 'Coming of age' genre, is far
more than that. It's a story about 'La douceur de vivre', or the 'The
gentle way of life' - the pureness of French country-life in the years
before the second world war. It's an extremely well crafted story of
love, death and life, and the little secrets the villagers share, seen
through the eyes of a perfectly authentic 13-year-old girl.
Simone Signoret gives a stunning performance, subtle and genuine, as the grand-mere (Mamie) of Marie, guiding her grandchild through the summer and her first encounters with love and romance. Marie falls in love with a Jewish doctor, 30 years of age, only to find that the doctor has more interest in her Dutch mother, who is in the middle of marital troubles with her dominant spouse. Marie realizes she will be the only one who can save her parents marriage and, with the help of Mamie, consults the local 'witch' to create a love-potion.
The question is, will everything return to normal, before the end of summer? And if war awaits, will life ever be the same again? One thing's for sure: you'll only lose childhood once, and it will never return...