Crest of French New Wave Comes Crashing At the Beach

Pauline a la Plage

PAULINE AT THE BEACH (1983)

Directed by: Eric Rohmer

Starring: Amanda Langlet, Arielle Dombasle, Pascal Greggory

Where: Busan Cinematheque

When: February 12 at 13:00, February 17 at 15:10, February 21 at 13:00, February 25 at 19:30

Have you ever met  someone, fallen in love, and had your heart broken all in one summer? If so, “Pauline at the Beach” might bring back some distant memories. In the third installment of his “Comedies and Proverbs” cycle, Eric Rohmer brilliantly captures a teenage girl’s coming of age as she learns about the pleasures and pitfalls of romance.

Fifteen year old Pauline (Amanda Langlet) arrives at the beach in Normandy with her older cousin Marion (Arielle Dombasle), a soon-to-be-divorced goddess of a woman, and before long, the pair of them are in relationships with somewhat questionable characters. As usual, Rohmer’s direction is restrained, but meticulous. He refuses to distract his audience with fancy camerawork or long drawn-out action scenes, preferring instead to let the story tell itself through wonderfully written dialogue. The film’s biggest asset is its near perfect script. It moves along at a steady pace, slowly unveiling a slew of lessons for the young protagonist (as well as the spectator) to take in.

The acting is also phenomenal. Langlet uses her girlish charm and innocence to full effect. All of the supporting actors nail their roles too, whether it’s Dombasle as the sexy blond bimbo, Feodor Atkine as her philandering lover, or Pascal Greggory as the mopy ex-boyfriend desperate to get his long lost love back. “Pauline at the Beach” is an absolute must-see for all Rohmer fans, or anyone with a penchant for high-brow romantic comedy. It’s perhaps the French auteur’s best work, and if not, his most enjoyable.

Rating: 86/100

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One Response to “Crest of French New Wave Comes Crashing At the Beach”

  1. Eric Rohmer Retrospective Showcases Breezy Side of French Cinema « YOU’LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN Says:

    […] Pauline at the Beach (1983)* […]

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