Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jean-Pierre Melville: Les enfants terribles (Take II)

Again while trying to absorb Jean-Pierre Melville (and Jean Cocteau's) Les enfants terribles (1950), live events keep rolling in. Today's big Supreme Court rulings in the USA were victories for the legitmacy of gay marriages, including recognition of federal benefits. This is a touchstone issue around the world and will certainly circulate in due time around the other states here. Overall, these rulings and similar developments represent a big shift since a time-marking event as recent as the 2004 presidential election, when so-and-so's pastor told people not to vote for John Kerry because he wouldn't stifle gay rights. A Pyrrhic victory for social conservatives, it turns out. One of many such in hindsight, I suspect.  
Michigan Daily, October 15, 1975
In any case, Les enfants terribles is a peculiar movie (based on the equally peculiar Cocteau novel), definitely memorable in part because it's so weird and different from more "typical" fare. It does remind me of a few other works, but of each in a different way. It utilizes classical music akin to how Stanley Kubrick later did in completing A Clockwork Orange (1971), for instance. It has social relationships in the same emotional realm as found in Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood (1952) -- which is cool, because she may have seen the film at the time; certainly, given her interest in French literature, she would have been aware of the 1929 Cocteau novel. And there's a thematic connection taken up by Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris, Little Buddha) in The Dreamers (2003), a film also set in Paris, only updated to revolutionary year 1968. All in all for these comparisons and on its own merits, it's worth an extended look.
The image here reminds me off the top of my head of Ingmar Bergman's Det sjunde inseglet / The Seventh Seal (1957), Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Clint Eastwood's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997). What do you think?

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.



the walking man said...

I personally think you "article" made me bring Train Spotting to mind.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sometimes I find myself woefully uneducated.

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks, dudes ~ I'll keep this in mind. Scottish urban lingo is fun, but I get the point ~~!