Today: February 23, 2024

Love On A Pillow

French New Wave cinema of the 50s and 60s might seem pretty niche and inaccessible but that’s only true if you don’t like films with subtitles, can’t relate to anything but American films and don’t even know where the world cinema section in your local HMV is.

French New Wave
cinema of the 50s and 60s might seem pretty niche and inaccessible but that’s
only true if you don’t like films with subtitles, can’t relate to anything but
American films and don’t even know where the world cinema section in your local
HMV is.
Even though you might
have seen a few of the main New Wave standout films like Breathless or The 400 Blows
but be sure not to miss out on smaller films like Love On A Pillow, which is
released this month.

Roger Vadim
directs one-time wife Brigitte Bardot
as goody two-shoes Geneviève, a bourgeois beauty who stumbles onto the scene of
an attempted suicide. Renaud is
the suicidal man in question; a handsome charmer who instantly inserts himself
into Geneviève’s life, quickly shoving her fiancé out of the picture.

They spend most of their time drinking and making love but
soon Geneviève is mixing with Renaud’s circle of friends; artists, poets and
musicians, all of whom show her what she’s been missing by hiding away with
Renaud. Unfortunately, her journey
of self-discovery is cut short by Renaud’s dangerous drinking and his
nihilistic attitude leaving to Geneviève wonder if he can change or if she
should stay to find out if he can.

Bardot is as beautiful as ever as Geneviève whose great
chemistry Robert Hossein’s Renaud
gives their rocky romance some real tension. It’s as Geneviève tries to change into a sex bomb for
her man, constantly trying to satisfy him and desperate to earn his love, that
Bardot sometimes struggles to keep the audience’s attention. It’s not exactly empowering but it does
ring true of a naive young woman attempting to bag herself a bad boy. It’s unfortunate but Bardot often fades
into the background, fighting the power of Hossein’s mesmerising performance,
throwing the film off balance toward the end.

The artists and musicians the lovers encounter mixed with
Renaud’s nihilistic outlook on life just screams New Wave cinema but those
unused to the style may be put off by the slow pace and pontificating about
life and love. If you’re looking
to really get into New Wave, something more like Breathless or Cleo 5 To 7 might be better gateway
films but Love On A Pillow is definitely worth a watch.

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