Sunday, February 8, 2009
L'Éternité pour nous (1963)
Jean Marc (Michel Lemoine) is a moody piano player in a desolate seaside hotel, pounding out simple tunes for simple tastes. His wife and chanteuse (Sylvia Sorrente), with an obscene body threatening to explode out of skin tight sweaters and hot pants, feels her raging youth being snuffed out by the quiet surroundings. In a room upstairs lays a man dying, the elderly husband of the hotel manager, Maria. Languishing in this off-season purgatory, the beautiful characters engage in various erotic trysts, in between staring out of windows and laying face down in sand. This is like an Antonioni film with more of an emphasis on large breasts. There is a murder (the old man gets extinguished with arsenic), and all the dramatic posturing and platitudes just fill in the time between several artfully shot, genuinely sexy sequences. Jose Bénazeraf carefully stages the actors movements, exploiting the erotic potential of the widescreen format.
Sorrente is an amazing presence, her body impossibly athletic and pneumatic. Her dance scene to a slinky Louiguy composition is a stunner, surely the highlight of the film.
Carefully avoiding nudity, L'Éternite pour nous still manages to smolder. It's Bénazeraf's most classically made film, downright humanistic compared to the films to follow.