For Reel


Sundays and Cybèle (1962)
August 10, 2015, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Serge Bourguignon
4.5 Stars
Sundays and CybeleDirector Serge Bourguignon was not warmly received by his fellow young French directors in the early 1960s. According to Bourguignon, the critics turned directors of Cahiers du cinéma shunned Sundays and Cybéle for becoming the French submission for the Academy Award over New Wave masterpieces like Jules and Jim and Vivre sa vie. And yet, although it is a film that concerns itself with narrative continuity in a way that a director like Jean-Luc Godard would not, Sundays and Cybéle is radical in its own way by achieving an uncompromising humanistic approach to an unusual love affair. Hardy Krüger plays a PTSD suffering ex-pilot who has the mind of a child, and as the 12-year-old orphan he inspires the love of, Patricia Gozzi seems much more emotionally advanced than a girl of her age, often speaking of their future together and even showing mature displays of romantic jealousy. The authenticity of their innocent companionship is argued for by their relationship with the Earth–they often speak of the beauty of trees, and in many scenes cinematographer Henri Decaë shoots them as reflections, making a mystical connection between the purity of their union and the purity of the natural world. On the contrary, in a crucial scene Krüger is engaged in a lunch outing with his wife (Nina Courcel) and two other bourgeois couples. He begins to observe the scene through his champagne glass–an action that is childlike in its sense of wonderment, and one that also conveys a certain falseness. Unlike his reflections in the water with Cybéle, here his world is reflected to him in a way that is fragmented, one that seems almost alien.

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