Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Bed and Board [1970]

The zany escapades of Truffaut’s endearing alter-ego in Stolen Kisses made way for a serio-comic examination of marriage in Bed and Board, the penultimate chapter in ‘The Adventures of Antoine Doinel’. Like the preceding chapters in this series, but unlike Love on the Run, this could easily serve as a standalone film. Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud), happily married to his sweetheart from the previous film Christine (Claude Jade) – he working as a florist and she as a music teacher while expecting their first child – is living in a cozy apartment in a charming neighborhood filled with eccentric characters – an elderly man who hasn’t left his apartment in years, a punctual opera singer who follows a ritualistic pattern while waiting for his wife, a slacker who keeps borrowing money from Antoine, among others. However, upon getting fired after a comic mishap, he gets employed at an American firm for steering radio-controlled toy boats, and there becomes embroiled in a dreary extra-marital affair with a Japanese lady (Hiroko Berghauer) with whom he can’t even communicate, leading to dire repercussions on his marriage. Though filled with funny moments and even self-reflexive asides – a TV presenter delivers a hilarious gag on Last Year at Marienbad and Jacques Tati has a cameo in his Monsieur Hulot avatar – the tone here was more towards the poignant, bitter and satirical side of the scale, and ended on an wry, ironic note when he accidentally bumps into his father-in-law at a brothel. Léaud as the passive, drifting Antoine, and Jade as the lovely, headstrong Christine, made for a memorable pair in their journey from carefree adolescents living in a bubble to bored adults in a crumbling marriage.

Director: Francois Truffaut
Genre: Drama/Marriage Drama/Romantic Comedy
Language: French
Country: France

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