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Murmur of the Heart
     

Murmur of the Heart

Director: Louis Malle

Cast: Lea Massari, Daniel Gélin, Michel Lonsdale

 
Told with fondness and precision, and set in France at the time of the IndoChina War (which later became an American problem known as the Vietnam War), this controversial feature handles teen coming-of-age, sexuality and even incest with a gentleness that disappointed the prurient and shocked the conservative. This is one of director Louis Malle's finest films: others

Overview

Told with fondness and precision, and set in France at the time of the IndoChina War (which later became an American problem known as the Vietnam War), this controversial feature handles teen coming-of-age, sexuality and even incest with a gentleness that disappointed the prurient and shocked the conservative. This is one of director Louis Malle's finest films: others include The Fire Within and Au Revoir Les Enfants. Laurent (Benoit Ferreux) is 14 years old and anxious to lose his virginity. However, he has a very close family circle, and, between the family and school, he is too closely watched to get anywhere. He makes the most of an opportunity to neck with the girls at his older brothers' party and later almost gets to lose his virginity in a bordello, but his boisterously drunken brothers interrupt him. His real opportunity arises while his mother takes him for a rest-cure for his heart murmur at a very conventional spa.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Murmur of the Heart is a film of rare grace and easygoing charm; while its content could seem shocking in the hands of other filmmakers, Louis Malle allows us to see it as a fond remembrance of what it's like to be a 15-year-old boy. Laurent, played with perfectly bemused aplomb by Benoit Ferreux, shoplifts jazz records, indulges in his father's wine and cigars when Dad's not around, masturbates, and almost loses his virginity to a prostitute, but Malle never mines this material for shock value. Instead, Laurent is presented as a typical adolescent adrift between childish impulsiveness and adult appetites and responsibilities. While much has been made of Laurent's incestuous contact with his free-spirited mother Clara (played by Lea Massari with a warm and playful sensuality), Clara never acts much like a mother to begin with; considerably younger than her husband, given to flings with other men, and more conspiratorial than disciplinary when she catches her sons stealing money from her purse, Clara behaves more like a friend and confidante than a parental authority. Clara knows that what's happened between her and Laurent is neither appropriate nor healthy, but she also sees it as an act of affection that need not damage either of them for life. This moment is consistent with the rest of film, which is less about a boy who behaves badly and must be punished than about about a person finding his way through the tricky labyrinths of adulthood; if he makes some mistakes, that's to be expected. The superb music of Charlie Parker and Sidney Bechet provides the perfect cues for the movie's tone. Dozens of films have been made about teenage angst, but Murmur of the Heart has more to say about the fun and mysteries along the way to adulthood.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/28/2006
UPC:
0037429212523
Original Release:
1971
Rating:
R
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:58:00
Sales rank:
35,598

Special Features

New, restored high-definition Digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich; Original theatrical trailer; New and improved English subtitle translation; Plus: A new essay by film critic Michael Sragow

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lea Massari Clara Chevalier
Daniel Gélin The Father
Michel Lonsdale Father Henri
Benoit Ferreux Laurent Chevalier
Marc Wincourt Marc
Fabien Ferreux Thomas
René Bouloc Man at Bastille Day Party
Jacqueline Chauveau Helene
Huguette Faget the Mother
Annie Savarin Cook
Michel Charrel Disquaire
Ave Ninchi Augusta
Gila Von Weitershausen Freda, the prostitute
Micheline Bona Aunt Claudine
Henri Poirier Uncle Leonce
Liliane Sorval Fernande
Corinne Kersten Daphne
Francois Werner Hubert
Yvon Lec Father Superior
Jacques Sereys Actor
Andrzej Zulawski Actor

Technical Credits
Louis Malle Director,Screenwriter
Ricardo Aronovich Cinematographer
Suzanne Baron Editor
Jean-Jacques Caziot Production Designer
Vincent Malle Producer
Claude Nedjar Producer
Henri Renaud Score Composer
Philippe Turlure Art Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Murmur of the Heart
1. Opening Credits [4:34]
2. High Jinks at Home [2:38]
3. Politics at the Dinner Table [3:15]
4. Mother's Favorite [2:30]
5. Late for Mass [6:27]
6. The Family's Black Sheep [4:40]
7. A Boy's Confession [5:03]
8. Bad Behavior [5:20]
9. Highest Grade [1:10]
10. Parents Return From Paris [3:18]
11. L'Orée Du Bois [7:54]
12. Off to Scout Camp [4:28]
13. Bed Rest for Renzino [6:39]
14. A Forgery [2:45]
15. Hôtel Des Bains [3:54]
16. Spa Cures Treatment [1:40]
17. "Your Mother Is Beautiful" [2:48]
18. Girl With Blond Braids [3:33]
19. The Story of O [4:03]
20. Alone at the Hotel [5:09]
21. "I'm Really a Woman!" [6:49]
22. Different Ways of Loving [5:52]
23. Virgins and Lesbians [5:15]
24. Bastille Day Dance [3:59]
25. A Beautiful Moment [5:21]
26. The Morning After [3:58]
27. Color Bars [5:04]

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