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Murmur of the Heart (Criterion Collection)

Lea Massari , Benoît Ferreux , Louis Malle    R (Restricted)   DVD

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This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than America in the 1990s. Thus, Laurent is unharmed by events which would irreparably shatter the self-esteem of a modern American adolescent: he gets drunk, he smokes, he has sex (including incestuous sex), he is smothered by his mother, he is ignored by his father, a priest makes a pass at him, he gets rheumatoid fever, etc. There's enough scandalous behavior in this film to make 100 made-for-TV movies, and yet this is a very happy and oddly innocent tale. Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled Language: French (Dolby Digital 1.0) Subtitles: English Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only) Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Number of discs: 1 Rated: R (Restricted) Studio: Criterion DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006 Run Time: 118 minutes

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the spectacle of childhood April 7 2006
By Stalwart Kreinblaster - Published on Amazon.com
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Louis Malle March 24 2013
By WillDecker - Published on Amazon.com
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt murmurs July 21 2012
By Dr René Codoni - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Le souffle au coeur (Louis Malle, 1971, 118`)

Le souffle au coeur tells a coming of age story about a 14-year-old boy growing up in bourgeois surroundings in post-World War II Dijon. The film was a hit across Europe, gaining 2.7 million admissions in France alone, and was also a modest hit in the United States. The film starts by showing the adventures of the boy in school and his first sexual experience at a brothel. When the boy is found to have a heart murmur after a bout of scarlet fever, he goes with his mother (Lea Massari) to a sanatorium, where a series of events lead to a sexual encounter with his mother. Jazz music by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, along with books by Bataille, Proust and Camus, feature prominently in the film.

Louis Malle '(1932-1995) was an award-winning French film director, screenwriter, and producer. His film, Le monde du silence, won the Palme d'Or and Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1956. He was also nominated multiple times for Academy Awards later in his career. Malle was born into a wealthy industrialist family in Thumeries, Nord, France. He initially studied political science at the Sciences-Po before turning to film studies at IDHEC instead. He worked in both French cinema and Hollywood, and he produced both French and English language films.

His feature films were: Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (1958), Les Amants (1958), Zazie dans le métro (1960), Vie privée (1962), Le feu follet (1963), Viva Maria! (1965), Le voleur (1967), Histoires extraordinaires (1968), Le souffle au coeur (1971), Lacombe Lucien (1974), Black Moon (1975), Pretty Baby (1978), Atlantic City (1981), My Dinner with Andre (1981), Crackers (1984), Alamo Bay (1985), Au revoir, les enfants (1987), Milou en Mai (1989), Damage (1992), Vanya on 42nd Street (1994).

Malle is sometimes considered to be "nouvelle vague", though his work does not directly fit their auteurist theory and he had nothing to do with the Cahiers du Cinéma; yet, he exemplified many characteristics of the movement, including using natural light, and shooting on location. His film Zazie dans le métro, after Raymond Queneau's novel, made Truffaut write him an enthusiastic letter. Many of Malle's films also tackled taboo subjects: Les amants both adultery and nudity, Le feu follet suicide, Le souffle au coeur incest, and Lacombe Lucien collaboration with the Nazis in Vichy France during WWII.

In the case of Le souffle au coeur, apart from Malle's ease and elegance in dealing with censor-prone subjects, Lea Massari (the young woman Anna going missing in Antonioni's L'avventura) and pre-modern urban destruction Dijon are the true stars of the film: Mlle Massari by her warm personality and brilliant dynamics, the city of Dijon by its noble statics.

112us - Le souffle au coeur (Louis Malle, 1971, 118`) - 21/7/2012
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No murmuring here; this film is all heart... June 10 2009
By Andrew Ellington - Published on Amazon.com
There are few films that can get away with the outlandish and taboo behavior found within `Le Souffle au Coeur'. I've been a fan of director Louis Malle's for a while now, having seen two other masterpieces by him, and so this was a film I was dying to actually see. From the films very beginning I could feel it was something special. The jovial talk between two young boys of jazz music was sweet, concise and appropriate. It set the right mood for this unique look at `growing pains' so-to-speak.

The film is a wildly entertaining look at adolescence from the eyes of fifteen-year-old virgin Laurent Chevalier. Growing up in 1950's France, Laurent is your typical teenager. His older brothers are flamboyant playboys who talk of their exploits and teasing their younger brother. Laurent's father is uninterested in him entirely, and his mother Clara is maybe overly interested; doing her best to compensate. Laurent drinks and smokes and pursues relations (not relationships) with other girls hoping to walk into adulthood. When a bout of scarlet fever sends him to the spa he finds himself reaching at the opportunity to lose his virginity.

`Le Souffle au Coeur' is a comedy in pure French fashion. It's vibrant and carries an almost bouncy vibe. It's a film that is determined to make you smile.

What I admire about this film is that it takes a very realistic approach to the teenager's idea of sex. There is no over dramatization here or forced tragedy, but everything is seen through the eyes of the naïve and inexperienced. This way the film can grace the stages of adolescence with an almost fearlessness, giving everything the light appeal of a children's story. As Laurent explores his own sexuality we are never offended or put off or even really concerned (although it is apparent that we should be somewhat concerned) because through the eyes of a child this is something grand and exciting. Sure, it's scary and nerve-racking, but in the end it is yet another experience that brings you closer to adulthood.

Malle superbly directs this film, allowing each frame to slink right into the next with a sensual fluidity that captures the very heart of this story.

The acting is also sublime; Benoit Ferreux nailing every ounce of childlike curiosity that makes his character so human and raw. The real star here though is Lea Massari, who plays Clara, Laurent's mother. She captures the very essence of motherhood and just sucks in the viewer. Her relationship with Laurent (while surely distasteful) is almost understandable, and the films development of the characters and plot make it easy for us to completely adore her. She loves her son and wants to help her son, and that genuine paternal feeling is never lost amidst her poor decisions.

In the end I highly recommend this film. It is a genuine classic and a brilliantly crafted coming-of-age comedy. Yes, the subject matter does get a bit risqué and could offend some, but when placed into context it is far from an offensive film.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Modern Aug. 6 2008
By Catchafire - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film was made in the 70s and touches on so many topics that would have made it a banned film in the US. For it's time, it is a masterpiece and a great film altogether. It's very edgy, but what do you expect from a French film shot in the 70s?

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