Tuesday, March 05, 2019

The Green Ray

Based on the novel by Jules Verne, Le Rayon vert (The Green Ray) is the story of a Parisian woman who copes with her loneliness while on her summer vacation. Directed by Eric Rohmer and screenplay by Rohmer and Marie Riviere, the film is the fifth part in a thematic series entitled Comedies and Proverbs that follows a woman as she copes with her surroundings in this summer vacation. Starring Marie Riviere, Beatrice Romand, Rosette, Carita, Vincent Gauthier, Amira Chemakhi, and Maria Luisa Garcia. Le Rayon vert is a majestic and somber film from Eric Rohmer.

The film follows a woman whose vacation plans with a friend and her boyfriend is cancelled as she struggles to find enjoyment in her vacations as she also deals with loneliness. It’s a film with a loose and simple premise that does use Jules Verne’s novel as a reference but also be mentioned as it relates to a rare phenomenon that is a green ray of light during sunset as it would be a key moment for its protagonist Delphine (Marie Riviere) to want to experience. The film’s script by Eric Rohmer and Marie Riviere doesn’t do much with Verne’s novel in order to explore Delphine’s own doubts and uncertainty as she would go on vacations around various locations in France and then briefly return to Paris as she would be accompanied by a friend to a location and meet different people but feel unfulfilled.

Rohmer’s direction is ravishing in its presentation as it is shot on various locations in France where Paris is featured prominently yet the places that Delphine goes to such as Cherbourg, the French Alps, Biarritz, and Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Rohmer would use wide shots of these locations yet he aims for something more intimate as it relates to Delphine’s own personal journey as the first act mainly takes place in Cherbourg as Delphine is with one of her friends in Francoise (Rosette) as they meet other travelers where despite befriending a few kids. Delphine becomes lost as Rohmer would film these conversations through close-ups and medium shots while knowing when to move the camera as it often gazes into a conversation about ideas that Delphine believes in which would go on for a few minutes. The second act is partially set in Paris and the French Alps where she returns to the former to see tourists and locals enjoy the location but she is unable to find happiness as she is being flirted with a man whom she’s not interested in.

The scene in the French Alps play into this air of un-fulfillment and uncertainty where Rohmer would shoot Delphine on the mountains hiking as she becomes uninterested in her surroundings and then decides to return home. Early in its third act in Biarritz, she would listen to a group of elderly people talking about books including the book that the film is partially based on. It is a moment that has Delphine trying to find some meaning in her life as she would meet a Swedish tourist in Lena (Carita) that would lead to some major revelations about herself and the world she’s in. Even as the people who are her friends are with someone or are attached with Delphine struggling to understand what women will do to have someone in their life. The film’s ending relates to that green ray of light as it’s something Delphine would want to see but it would be in the most unexpected ways. Overall, Rohmer crafts a touching yet enchanting film about a woman’s summer vacation that leads to a journey of identity.

Cinematographer Sophie Maintigneux does brilliant work with the film’s 16mm cinematography with its grainy look for some of the interiors as well as maintaining its usage of natural lighting for many of the film’s locations. Editor Maria Luisa Garcia does excellent work with the editing as it is largely straightforward with a few rhythmic cuts to play into the drama and conversations. Sound mixer Dominique Hennequin and sound recordist Claudine Nougaret do terrific work with the sound in capturing the atmosphere of the locations as well the overlapping conversations between people in some scenes. The film’s music by Jean-Louis Valero is superb for its plaintive and low-key string-based score that play into Delphine’s melancholic mood as it appears sparingly throughout the film.

The film’s wonderful cast feature some notable small roles from Beatrice Romand as a friend of Delphine living in Paris, Amira Chemakhi as a woman Delphine meets in Paris, Maria Luisa Garcia as Delphine’s friend Manuella who offers Delphine to go to Ireland, Carita as the Swedish tourist in Lena, Rosette as Delphine’s friend Francoise, and Vincent Gauthier as a man named Jacques that Delphine would meet late in the film. Finally, there’s Marie Riviere in an incredible performance as Delphine as a woman whose plans for a vacation with her boyfriend and a friend is cancelled prompting her to go on a vacation on her own where she travels to various places in France as she deals with her loneliness where Riviere displays a restraint and melancholia to a woman who deals with trying to enjoy herself and connect with others as it play into expectations she can’t live up to.

Le Rayon vert is a phenomenal film from Eric Rohmer that features a spectacular performance from Marie Riviere. With its low-key yet simple premise, exploration of loneliness in a vacation setting, and the gorgeous locations in France, it’s a film that explores a woman coming to terms with who she is through an unconventional summer vacation as well as to experience a rare event in the world. In the end, Le Rayon vert is a sensational film from Eric Rohmer.

Eric Rohmer Films: (The Sign of Leo) – The Bakery Girl of Monceau - Suzanne's Career - (Paris vu par-Place de l‘Etoile) – La collectionneuse - My Night at Maud's - Claire's Knee - Love in the Afternoon (1972 film) - (L’enfance d’une ville) - (The Marquis of O) - (Perceval le Gallois) - (Catherine de Heilbronn) - (The Aviator’s Wife) - (Le Beau Mariage) – Pauline at the Beach - (Full Moon of Paris) - (Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle) - (Boyfriends and Girlfriends) - (Les Jeux de societe) - (A Tale of Springtime) - (A Tale of Winter) - (L’Arbre, le maire et la mediatheque) - (Le trio en mi bemol) - (Les Rendez-vous de Paris) - (Summer’s Tale) - (Autumn Tale) - (The Lady and the Duke) - (Triple Agent) - (Romance of Astrea and Celadon)

© thevoid99 2019

1 comment:

Brittani Burnham said...

This sounds like it would be a nice film to look at with all those locations.