Review: ‘Deux Anglaises et le Continent’

Film is a return to the only other book by Henri Pierre Roche, author of the book Francois Truffaut did as Jules and Jim, and reverses the triangle to have two English sisters and a young Frenchmen instead of the two thirtyish friends and an early 20th-century femme libber in Jules. It has Truffaut's usual charm and ease but he does not quite imbue it with the poetic flair, elan and life force his previous pic had.

Film is a return to the only other book by Henri Pierre Roche, author of the book Francois Truffaut did as Jules and Jim, and reverses the triangle to have two English sisters and a young Frenchmen instead of the two thirtyish friends and an early 20th-century femme libber in Jules. It has Truffaut’s usual charm and ease but he does not quite imbue it with the poetic flair, elan and life force his previous pic had.

Frenchman Claude Jean-Pierre Leaud goes to visit the sisters in their seaside country home. His mother and theirs, both widows, are old friends. Here one sister, Anne (Kika Markham), a forthright, tomboyish and liberated type, who wants to study art in Paris, pushes him towards her puritanical, intellectual younger sister, Muriel (Stacey Tendeter).

Love blossoms for him but not for her, and then it is decided they should not see each other for a year. Claude becomes the lover of the sister, who comes to study in Paris, and falls out of love with the younger one, who then suddenly feels herself in love with him.

Leaud does not have the elegance for his role of the dilletantish, mother-smothered young man. Markham has grace and charm as the freer sister and Tendeter the red-headed, freckled robustness of the more religious, repressed girl who confesses a childhood lesbo experience and guilty masturbatory activities in her diary.

Others are well cast in minor parts, with fine subdued hues and slow but knowing pacing. Love scenes are tactful and Truffaut even dwells on the heavy bloodstains after the deflowering of the 30-year-old virgin, Muriel.

Deux Anglaises et le Continent

France

Production

Films du Carrosse/Cinetel. Director Francois Truffaut; Producer Marcel Berbert (exec.); Screenplay Francois Truffaut, Jean Gruault; Camera Nestor Almendros; Editor Yann Dedet, Martine Barraque; Music Georges Delerue; Art Director Michel de Broin

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 130 MIN.

With

Jean-Pierre Leaud Kika Markham Stacey Tendeter Sylvia Marriott Philippe Leotard Marie Mansart
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