Thursday, September 27, 2012

Love on the Run

Directed by Francois Truffaut and written by Truffaut, Marie-France Pisier, Jean Aurel, and Suzanne Schiffman, L’amour en fuite (Love on the Run) is the fifth and final part of the Antoine Doinel story. The film explores Antoine’s search for love as he has trouble trying to navigate his journey prompting some of his former lovers to help him find his way. With Jean-Pierre Leaud playing his famous character for the final time along with Claude Jade and Marie-France Pisier reprising their roles as Christine and Colette, respectively. Also starring Dorothee and Dani. L’amour en fuite is an extraordinary film from Francois Truffaut.

On the day that Antoine Doinel and Christine Darbon finalize their divorce, Antoine has to take his son Alphonse (Julien Dubois) to the train station so that he can go to camp. This forces Antoine to cancel plans with his current girlfriend Sabine (Dorothee) who is upset by the news as she wants to break-up with Antoine. At the train station, Antoine notices his former girlfriend Colette as he boards her train where the two meet to discuss Antoine’s book and his life. Things start out fine until Antoine nearly causes trouble for Colette as he decides to leave the train. Returning to Paris where he works as a proofreader, Antoine meets a man from his past in Monsieur Lucien (Julien Bertheau) where the two have lunch and talk about Antoine’s mother.

The meeting would have Antoine come face-to-face with his own past as he tries to make amends with Sabine while Colette tries to pursue a bookstore owner named Xavier (Daniel Mesguich). After finding a picture of Sabine in her book that Antoine had accidentally dropped on the train, Colette wants to meet her as she bumps into Christine. The two have a conversation where they devise a plan for Antoine to get his life in order and find happiness.

Throughout the life of Antoine Doinel, here is this man who has been running all of his life trying to find something or someone as he often stumbles around and will often undo something that had been good to him. In this final chapter of the Antoine Doinel story, it is clear that here’s a man who is still immature and unable to come to terms with his own past despite the book that he wrote about himself. At this point, he’s at a crossroads where he just ended his marriage to Christine while his relationship with new girlfriend Sabine is a tumultuous one. An encounter with Colette and later on, her mother’s former lover would eventually force Antoine to look back even more as he would eventually find ways to win the heart of Sabine.

The screenplay is an intricate one as it has a narrative that does move back-and-forth where it incorporates many scenes from the previous films telling Doinel’s life. Particularly as its characters would often reflect on these moments where Doinel is forced to confront his own past including his own troubled relationship with his mother who he hadn’t seen as a child as well as the fact that he never had the moment to mourn her death. His meeting with Monsieur Lucien becomes a turning point in the film’s second act where Antoine is forced to realize why he had so many problems with women as it all relates to his mother. The third act reveals what event eventually broke up Antoine’s marriage to Christine as she reveals it to Colette who also reveals about her own life in a conversation that would lead the two to make some moves for Antoine.

Truffaut’s direction is very stylized in the way he incorporates footage from his previous films to help tell the story of Antoine Doinel and his search for happiness. While a lot of the present-day shots are very straightforward and engaging in the way Truffaut frames a scene. They also say a lot such as the divorce meeting between Antoine and Christine where it flashes back to their life as a married couple where they reflect on good times and bad times. There’s always scenes of Doinel running around Paris or whatever location he’s in as Truffaut captures these moments with a lot of wide shots. He also knows how to match the flashbacks with the present scenes to help tell a story that includes a key moment where Doinel finally comes to the conclusion about what he should do. Overall, Truffaut creates a very witty and fascinating that ends the Antoine Doinel story on a high note.

Cinematographers Nestor Almendros, Florent Bazin, and Emilia Pakull-Latorre do excellent work with the film‘s photography from the exterior locations in Paris to the interiors at the train and at the record store that Sabine works at. Editors Martine Barraque, Jean Gargonne, and Corinne Lapassade do brilliant work with the editing to create unique rhythms for Antoine‘s running scenes while utilizing stylish cuts for the film‘s flashback scenes. Art directors Jean-Pierre Kohut-Svelko, Pierre Gompertz, and Jean-Louis Poveda do wonderful work with the set pieces such as the press room that Antoine works at to the record store that Sabine works at.

Costume designer Monique Dury does terrific work with the costumes from the more proper dresses that Christine wears to the more stylish look of Colette. The sound work of Michel Laurent is very good for the atmosphere that is set in various locations to the intimacy in the scenes between Antoine and the people he meets. The film’s music by Georges Delerue is a delight to play to the sense of melancholia and humor that is displayed with its quaint, orchestral score. The title track sung by Alain Souchon is a lovely song that plays to the misadventures of love.

The film’s ensemble cast is remarkable for the appearances that are made as it features small performances from Rosy Varte reprising her role as Colette’s mother, Julien Dubois as Alphonse Doinel, Marie Henriau as the divorce judge, Daniel Mesguich as the bookstore owner Xavier, and Julien Bertheau as Antoine’s mother’s former lover Monsieur Lucien. Dani is very good in a small role as Christine’s friend Liliane who would help play a role into Christine’s split with Antoine. Dorothee is wonderful as Antoine’s current girlfriend Sabine who tries to deal with his old life as well as his immaturity as she becomes more unsure about the relationship.

Claude Jade is brilliant as Christine who tries to deal with Antoine’s post-divorce life as well as reflect on her time with Antoine as she later befriends Colette. Marie-France Pisier is great as Colette who meets Antoine after having not seen him for some years as she tries to understand more about him as she also deals with her own issues as she later meets Christine. Finally, there’s Jean-Pierre Leaud in a superb performance as Antoine Doinel as there’s a lot of energy to Leaud’s approach to the character as he’s always running while trying to deal with his own past and failings as a man.

While it is the weakest segment of the Antoine Doinel series, L’amour en fuite is a marvelous film from Francois Truffaut. Thanks to the winning performances of Jean-Pierre Leaud, Marie-France Pisier, and Claude Jade, it’s a film that explores the world of growing up and love in all of its complications. Largely through the eyes of one of cinema’s great unsung heroes in Antoine Doinel. In the end, L’amour en fuite is an excellent film from Francois Truffaut.

Francois Truffaut Films: The 400 Blows - Shoot the Piano Player - Jules & Jim - Antoine and Colette - The Soft Skin - Fahrenheit 451 - The Bride Wore Black - Stolen Kisses - Mississippi Mermaid - The Wild Child - Bed and Board - Two English Girls - Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me - Day for Night - The Story of Adele H. - Small Change - The Man Who Loved Women - The Green Room - The Last Metro - The Woman Next Door - Confidentially Yours

(The Auteurs #40: Francois Truffaut (Pt. 1) - (Pt. 2))

© thevoid99 2012

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