Belle Toujours (DVD)

First off, much thanks has to go out to New Yorker Films for accommodating our request. Secondly, Belle Toujours is a solid film that, despite its references to French classic Belle de Jour, needs no further introduction. The special features that are present further give viewers information about the dialogue that the two films have, especially when one reads the essay by Randal Johnson (who wrote a book about de Oliveira), as well as the interviews that were conducted with Oliveira eirself, Michel Piccoli (Henir Husson), Bulle Ogier (Severine), and Ricardo Trepa (the barman).

The theatrical trailer, while a common extra in a number of DVDs, provides viewers with a look into what scenes that de Oliveira felt were the most important, perhaps casting the film in a different way that most individuals would see it. The evolution of Piccoli’s character in Belle Toujours shows a great break with what would normally be assumed to be the status quo in American cinema. Where the rough and rowdy character loses most of eir spirit in the temporal space portrayed in an American film (the old man is soft and gentle when once ey was rough and uncouth), but there seems to be no respite for Severine.In fact, those feelings that Huysson has for Severine seem to have increased in severity over the years since their last encounter. Individuals can see exactly how much an impact Severine has made on Husson when Husson first sees Severine at a concert.

Despite the break that Belle Toujours has with what would be status quo in American cinema, de Oliveira makes a story that individuals young and old and of a number of lifetime experiences will be able to identify with. Particularly resonant would have to be the discussions that the two have about lost chances, and what exactly could have been done if things took a different course than they ultimately did. The alluring qualities of Belle Toujours and quality of de Oliveira’s latest effort makes me wonder why it was given the cold shoulder at the 80th Academy Awards. De Oliveira has created one of the most lasting and impressive films of eir career, which goes all the way back to 1931 and comprises nearly 50 different movies. New Yorker Video has picked up a modern gem and will likely gain in adherents with the release of this DVD.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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