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November 11, 1988 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-11
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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'Boyfriends':

a study in love, radical juxtl

Cast searches for fulfillment in
'the greatest of all emotions'

By Darin Gre yerbiehl

~Are the French truly better
lovers? If Boyfriends and Girlfriends
- the new comedy by Eric Rohmer
- is any indication, they can be
just as awkward at romance as the
rest of us. It would probably be
more .accurate, however, to say that
the French place a higher degree of
importance on love and
companionship than Americans do.
In Boyfriends and Girlfriends,
Rohmer tries to illustrate why hav-
ing a companion is essential for a
fuller life and does it in a unique
setting with intriguing characters
caught in situations that have no

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free-spirited student, who wastes no
time before entering a personal, yet'
unthreatening line of inquiry with
Blanche. She finds that Blanche has
no present lover and takes it upon
herself to amend the situation. She
introduces Blanche to Alexandre
(Francois-Eric Gendron), the leading
candidate at Cergy for most eligible
bachelor. Blanche is immediately
interested, but Lea, citing some
mysterious intuition, says that
Alexandre is not her type. She then
invites Blanche to her own
boyfriend's apartment for dinner,
and in this scene it is evident that
Lea and her boyfriend are not a good
pair either.
All of the relationships in the
beginning of the story consist of
improper pairings, and through the
course of the movie, this state of
affairs evolves into a fulfilling so=lution for everyone. Evolve is a key
word here since the resolution of
their plights is a slow and often
painful odyssey. The way Rohmer
develops these characters from su-
perficial, somewhat cold automa-
tons to warm, compassionate peo-
ple points to his belief in the cura-
tive power of love.
If there is any serious shortcom-
ing with Boyfriends and Girlfriends,
it's a technical one. The perspective
of many of the camera angles is
below normal eye level as if the
members of the audience were actu-
ally viewing the events of the film
in real life. The sense of realism
these angles are supposed to provide
is often negated by distractions such
as people walking through the
foreground or, more importantly,

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easy solutions.
The original French title, "The
Boyfriend of My Girlfriend," proves
to be an accurate explanation of the
story. The film opens with Blanche
(Emanuelle Chaulet) a young gov-
ernment technocrat who works in a
sleek, modern office. She lives in
an ultra-modern, almost surreal
housing development in suburban
Paris called Cergy-Pontoise.
Though this movie could also have
been effective in a more traditional
setting, the stunning visual back-
drop offered by Cergy serves as a
stark counterpoint to the flesh and
blood needs of human life.
One day during lunch hour,
Blanche is joined by the provoca-
tive young Lea (Sophie Renoir), a

by the lack of prominence given to
the main characters. Rohmer does,
however, maximize his use of
Cergy-Pontoise by panning through
this sterile bombast to highlight
the unwholesomeness of radical
juxtaposition and to refer back to
the inappropriateness of the initial
relationships between the charac-
ters.
After reading the title, one is led
to ask whether there aren't already
enough movies that deal with love.
This may be true, but it never hurts
See FRIENDS, Page 6

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Emmanuelle Chaulet and Eric Viellard are caught in a game of roma

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PAGE 12 WEEKEND/NOVEMBER 11, 1988

WEEKEND/NOVEMBER 1 1 , 1988

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