Vie de château, La Review

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In the countryside near Normandy's beaches lives Marie, unhappy. It's 1945, she's married to Jérôme, a somewhat fussy milquetoast, diffident to the war around him and unwilling to move his wife to Paris, where she longs to live, shop, and party.


A minor romance with an unusual setting: it opens in idyllic rural France in an imagined, sunlit past as the traditional bored and beautiful wife (Catherine Deneuve) of a diffident petty aristo (Phillipe Noiret) starts yearning for Paris and several younger hunky men. Then a German staff car drives into the apple orchard and we realise that Deneuve’s possible lovers are a free Frenchman setting up a vital raid which will assist the allies and the local German kommandant. The mix of war story, love story and farce has its moments — as when Deneuve has to rescue a drunken parachutist who is dangling from a tree while the Germans are moving in — but suffers from the thinness of its characters and the abrupt shift of mood. Deneuve looks lovely but is somewhat under characterised, and everyone else just shrugs.

Nice ideas, but doesn't fully translate.