Waterville Opera House
The great French director Louis Malle (Atlantic City, Au Revoir Les Enfants) deals with the possible coming of revolution obliquely, as a warmly human comedy. The film's spirit is one of affectionate satire, and its style suggests a commingling of Chekhov and Mozart and both Renoirs — the filmmaker, Jean, and his father, Pierre Auguste. The story it tells is projected against the events of May 1968 when, all over France, a wave of radicalism threatened to leave sweeping social changes in its wake. The film's setting, though, is far away from the strikes and the riots and the free-thinking students who led them. At the rather ramshackle old country estate where the movie takes place, these upheavals are threatening only in a distant, abstract way. But with the mother's death and the gathering of the clan for her funeral, the world teeters as precariously on the edge of revolution as the rest of the country.
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