Thursday 16 May 2013

César and Rosalie [1972]

sar & Rosalie was Sautet’s charming, perceptive and serio-comic take on an unpredictable love triangle among the Parisian upper class, and in turn, a delectable and quietly affecting observation on the class itself. It also provided a fine introduction to his devastating follow-up film, viz. Vincent, Francois, Paul & the Others. It begins with the two titular characters, Cesar (Yves Montand), a wealthy and gregarious businessman, and Rosalie (Romy Schneider), an incredibly beautiful and soft-natured single mom, in a pleasant and stable relationship. In comes David (Sami Frey), a sedate and talented cartoonist with whom Rosalie had a tryst in the past, and the whole equation goes topsy-turvy. Cesar initially reacts to his arrival in the scene with grave suspicion and insecurity, and then with startling mood swings, which, in a way, compels Rosalie to switch boats. But, what really made this film so far removed from most love triangles was in its sly reversal of expectations – instead of this being just a tale of one-upmanship in terms of who wins the lady, it transitioned into how these two men, who began on the wrong foot with regards to one another, ironically end up becoming very good friends. The final scene where the two men, who are polar opposites yet now profoundly at ease with one another, sharing a light-hearted banter, with the amused Rosalie silently observing them from afar, followed by a freeze-frame, was a marvelous way to bring this engaging ménage à trois to a highly satisfying climax. All the three gave noteworthy performances, but Montand was particularly brilliant as the animated, pampered, cigar-smoking, card-loving and emotionally fragile alpha-male.

Director: Claude Sautet
Genre: Comedy Drama/Romantic Drama
Language: French
Country: France


Sam Juliano said...

Excellent capsule as always of one of Sautet's greatest works. It an utter delight and Montand is indeed unforgettable. I tip my cap to you Shubhajit for a splendid examination of this director over the past two weeks!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Yes, its been an absolute pleasure discovering Sautet & basking in his melancholia.