Bonjour Tristesse


Based on the novel by Francoise Sagan, Bonjour Tristesse is about a hedonistic teenage girl, Cécile, and her playboy father, Raymond. In a bit of a soap opera, Cécile ends up sabotaging the relationship between her father and his fiance.

I lovelovelove the style of this movie. It is spectacular- from the painted tears in the opening credits to the closing scene with remorseful Cécile. Otto Preminger uses a Wizard of Oz device to set the mood: filming the past on the French Riviera in saturated color and the present in somber black and white. David Niven plays Raymond, the wealthy cad who strings along women and breaks their hearts. This was perfect casting as Raymond is selfish and immoral but Niven is such a charmer you can’t help but like him. Jean Seberg as Cécile isn’t the greatest actress but she’s incredibly endearing, with her pixie cut and men’s shirts. There are also great performances by Mylène Demongeot as Elsa, Raymond’s mistress, and Deborah Kerr as Ann, Raymond’s fiancee. Oh! And Juliette Gréco who sings the title song.

Bonjour Tristesse was a recommendation from my co-worker, Ted, who has excellent taste in EVERYTHING. I’m definitely going to check out a couple more Otto Preminger movies- Laura and The Man With the Golden Arm.

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