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Murmur of the Heart (Criterion Collection)

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Amazon.com: 23 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
the spectacle of childhood April 7 2006
By Stalwart Kreinblaster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Louis Malles' film 'murmur of the heart' dances accross the screen with so much vigor and and jazz that you don't know quite what hit you in the end..it is fabulous light-hearted and it dosen't care what people think.. that is why i like it. It is gorgeously filmed and the acting is quite good - but it is not a typical portrait of childhood - it contains both the things you would expect to see and also the unexpected - a great French film.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Louis Malle March 24 2013
By WillDecker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
All crimes in "Murmur of The Heart" go unpunished: Stealing, Pedophilia, Incest, Prostitution, Scout Tent /Sleeping Bag Sex, etc., etc., etc..... Not only unpunished but all with happy endings. Louis Malle you were a master at telling us that our Crime and Punishment world has got it all wrong.

I recommend "A Renegade History of The United States" by Thaddeus Russell for further understanding.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If Mozart had been a film maker, he would have made films like this March 5 2009
By trastevere - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
One of the most delightful films ever made, this is a feast of fluid, elegant filmmaking. The erotic, rebellious content thus is elevated to something sacred-- think of Titian's painting of Ariadne and Bacchus, or the courting of Papageno and Papagena in The Magic Flute. In Malle's hands, life is too exquisite to be wasted on the squeamish, on the people with small souls. This is an inspired, civilized, and absolutely moral film, on a par with Bunuel's The Milky Way and Renoir's Rules of the Game. Nobody who hasn't seen this film should ever be allowed to vote!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Murmur of the Heart. Dec 22 2014
By Gary W. Phelps - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Louis Malle is both producer and director of a Masterpiece in this movie, Murmur of the Heart. The viewer has to remember the time and place of this DVD movie occurs when many Western European Nations had endured the ravages of World War II, in some of those nations rationing did not end until the 1950s, and some were loosing their colonial empires. This movie begins with young adolescent Roman Catholic School boys collecting contributions in the public for French Soldiers in combat as the French downfall in Indochina, exemplified by the battle Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam that was about to be lost. Malle brings focus on his 14 year old hero, Laurent (played by Benoit Ferreux who gives the performance par excellence). Laurent is a perfect example of a gangling, typical growing14-year-old's anatomy with out-of-place long legs and an oversized head marching towards maturity. His immature youth is illustrated by typical mood swings from rage to mischief who is determined to embrace his above average intelligence and qualities (a 14 year-old interested in the books by Albert Camus? Remarkable!). However, Malle keeps Laurentwithin the pervue of other boys in his class who are captivated by his penchant to be tempted and aware with a magnetic charisma laced with shrewdness and observance of his surroundings. Even a young blond boy appears to have an innocent "puppy love" for Laurent which is common for an older maturing youth. He is the youngest Son in a pretentious family of economic and social privilege (complete with servants, a cosmopolitan Italian Mother, A Father who is a gynecologist Doctor and two older romping Brothers with relentless irritations). Murmur of the Heart has multiple definitions for Laurent. His Brothers escort Laurent to their favorite Brothel for him to have his "first love." Then, he develops a physical heart murmur during his Boy Scout Summer encampment and has to be confined to bed rest, no attendance at school and sent to a Spa. At the Spa Laurent wrenches at the treatments which require him to disrobe to be nude before women. In France, the public display of affection is startling by other standards. For example, the scene where the Catholic Priest in the Parochial School counsels Laurent's interests, and compliments the boys growth by putting his hands around the thigh of the Lad's leg. In that culture it is not a sexual pass, but no different than a complimentary hand on the shoulder of the youth. When the Priest grants Laurent's request to end the counseling session it ended with no advance on the boy that could be inappropriate. Boys who hug and kiss on the cheek or holding hands while walking down a street; some men display these public behaviors also. Daily customs and social mores differ in European cultures. Of course, Laurent is taunted by Medical Technicians about his maturing appearance. Then, Laurent challenges his own Mother about probable liaisons with other men, which leads to incest between both of them. Nevertheless, at the end all of them mesh as a family with Laurent as the lead - character through all of the vignettes. This DVD film is a superb presentation of a culture in which people are recovering from a horrid World War,changes of political position of France in world affairs, and the young like Laurent who attempts to make sense of all surroundings around him who is determined to carry on in life and grow up as a maturing person.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"The Erlking" played out to in the life of a 15 year-old-boy Dec 6 2013
By John Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film was well made and is easy to follow. I will note here that close to halfway through the movie Laurent's scout patrol presents a skit acting out Goethe's "The Erlking". "The Erlking" is about the death of childhood when a boy loses his innocents. It is very symbolic as is common in poetry but it is no accident that it is quoted in this movie. This is also the theme of the movie, but goes about it in a different way than any other movie I have ever seen. Laurent is not involved with a girl, (or a boy) nor does he even really have a girlfriend during the movie. Instead he is almost bombarded by situations where he could give in to sexual temptation. A priest who has a reputation for liking boys seems to be flirting with him, an older girl at his brothers' party teaches him to French kiss, a younger scout idolizes him and wants to sleep next to him (this actually seemed quite innocent to me, I only bring it up because the general theme of the movie seems to suggest there is more to it), his brothers take him to a brothel, and this is all just in the first half of the movie. Thrown in with this, he discovers his mother is having an affair, he seeks out hidden books in the house and masturbates while reading them, and once early in the movie he measures his brothers penises to settle an argument between them. None of the boys are seen nude by the movie audience in any of this, but the prostitute is seen topless and Laurent is seen in his underwear while with her. To say when and how he finally has sex would be giving away too much, but by the end of the movie "the child is dead". (That, by the way, is a quote from "The Elking" in case you have not read it.)
There is some nudity in the last half of the movie. On his first visit to the clinic Laurent is seen fully nude, both front and rear. Later at the hotel his mother is seen nude from the rear getting out of the bath tub and still later he is seen nude from the rear while getting out of the bath tub.
There are a couple of sex scenes in the movie both of which show the actors from about the shoulders up during sex.
Another movie inspired by "The Erlking" is "Burning Secret" which was made in 1988 in the UK and West Germany. It has a lot in common with this movie, even the mother and son traveling to a remote hotel to get treatment for the son. But at the same time goes in a totally different direction when it comes to him loosing his innocents.