Bonjour Tristesse

Film, Drama
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Bonjour Tristesse

He’s best remembered as the director of offbeat, transgressive noir-tinged dramas like ‘Laura’ (1944) and ‘The Man With the Golden Arm’ (1955). But in 1957 Otto Preminger made a film more strange and shockingly modern than either. A frothy, sun-kissed comic satire which just happens to deal with such jolly subjects as incest, depression, self-loathing, adultery and suicide, ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ completely defies categorisation. Jean Seberg and David Niven play worryingly close-knit father-daughter team Cecile and Raymond, whose jaunt on the Riviera is interrupted by the arrival of buttoned-up Anne (Deborah Kerr), her sights set on reforming this wayward pair. Seen entirely through 17-year-old Cecile’s eyes, the film is as unpredictable and emotionally jarring as its teenage heroine: first we love Anne, then loathe her, then pity her, while Niven’s gadabout father slides from unimpeachable hero to contemptible charlatan. The film is shot through with breathtaking moments: a simple seafront supper becomes a glorious musical celebration, an adolescent clinch is suddenly charged with eroticism, and the final shot is one of the most convincingly grief-stricken in cinema.

By: Tom Huddleston


Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday August 30 2013
Duration: 94 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Otto Preminger
Screenwriter: Arthur Laurents
Cast: Jean Seberg
David Niven
Juliette Greco
Deborah Kerr
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