Cesar and Rosalie DVD
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Directed by Claude Sautet
Produced in 1972
Main Language - French with English subtitles
Romy Schneider, Yves Montand and Sami Frey play the three people involved in a ménage à trois in Claude Sautet’s romance. It's keen, insightful and slyly amusing, writes David Parkinson.
Four years after he first drafted the scenario, Claude Sautet finally realised this comedy of romantic manners that many would rate as his finest achievement alongside Un Coeur en hiver (1991). Assertions that this was the Jules et Jim of the 1970s are perhaps a little strained, but the screenplay is just as keen in its insights into human nature and every bit as assured in both its plotting and character development. Moreover, the performances of Romy Schneider (in the third of her five collaborations with Sautet), Yves Montand (in the first of his three) and Sami Frey are impeccable in making the shifting vicissitudes of a bourgeois ménage à trois feel entirely plausible and slyly amusing.
While attending her mother's wedding, Schneider bumps into Frey, the suave cartoonist who disappeared shortly after causing her own marriage to collapse. Realising she still has feelings for him, Schneider tries to split up with Montand, the wealth scrap merchant she loves but refuses to commit to. However, he is so determined to preserve their relationship that he purchases the house where Schneider spent her childhood holidays, only for Frey to move in with them and the two men to become increasingly firm friends.
One of the consistent joys of Sautet's cinema is his ability to find hidden depths in the most implacable archtypes. Whether he is driving hard bargains or fast cars or listening to Bach while puffing on a cigar and sipping cognac, Montand appears to epitomise the self-made rough diamond. Yet the unsuspected sensitivity that underpins his love for Schneider also leaves him open to recognising the essential decency beneath the roguish Frey's sophisticated exterior. Thus, when faced with the flip sides of the perfect man, there is little wonder that Schneider cannot choose between them and finally opts for a solution that would be audacious in a modern-day film, let alone one that is 40 years old.
One hopes this is the first of many Sautet gems to be released in this country, although this one has the added attraction of featuring a 17 year-old Isabelle Huppert in a very early role.
David Parkinson on 14th September 2012
Author of 193 reviews
A 1972 French romance from Claude Sautet (Un Coeur en Hiver), Cesar and Rosalie stars Romy Schneider, Yves Montand and Sami Frey.
Rosalie (Schneider) is a beautiful vivacious young woman involved with a charming, successful businessman called Cesar (Montand). He is crazy about her and his exuberant vitality satisfies Rosalie’s terrific lust for life. However, out of the blue one day, Rosalie’s old flame David (Frey) appears, desperate to win back her affections. Cesar’s intense jealousy sends Rosalie into David's arms of David but she soon begins to doubt whether she has made the right choice...
Length: 106 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 5th November 2012
Cat No: OPTD2363
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