french films > Pauline at the Beach

Pauline at the Beach

Pauline at the Beach

Pauline at the Beach

Review score: * * * * *

cast: Amanda Langlet, Arielle Dombasle, Pascal Greggory

year: 1983

colour: yes

certificate: 15

director: Eric Rohmer

runtime: 94

In a summer vacation in Normandy, Pauline, a proud and sensitive teenager, discovers the games of love.

Marion, a voluptuous blond fashion designer, (Arielle Dombasle), is a self-absorbed divorcée. She is a flirt who talks of wanting to "burn with love." She does this with Henri, (Féodor Atkine), a fortyish womaniser, who is amused when she lands in his bed on their first date, and is impressed by her beauty. He sees through her pretensions however; she is of only passing interest to him. Pierre, (Pascal Greggory), a handsome blond wind-surfer has known Marion for years. He hangs around Marion and can't understand why his devotion has never got him anywhere. Marion urges him to date Pauline, (Amanda Langlet), her fifteen year old cousin who has been put in her charge for a few weeks. She advises Pauline to gain some sexual experience by going out with Pierre. Pauline however finds a boyfriend on her own, who is about her age - Sylvain (Simon de la Brosse).

The incident that creates the bedroom-farce misunderstandings is a casual sexual matinée. While Henri is with a working class girl, a candy seller from the beach, (played by an actress known simply as Rosette), Sylvain rushes to warn him that Marion is on her way. Hoping to avoid a scene Henri pushes the candy girl and Sylvain into the bathroom. When Marion sees them, she assumes that the liaison has been theirs. Eventually, through Pierre, Pauline hears of it, and is hurt.

"The film begins with a French proverb translated as, 'A wagging tongue bites itself.' Pauline, who is the moral center of the film, doesn't carry tales. She listens to Marion deceiving herself and switching from one attitude to another as she tries to manipulate Henri. Pauline takes in what people say and what they do; she doesn't add to the talk with what she has heard."


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