Friday, May 24, 2013
La Ronde. B
Sometimes I wish Max Ophuls' stories were as interesting as his filmmaking. That said, maybe the charm and allure of him is that he's able to take fairly dull and uneventful tales and make them seem like real movies, big and powerful. La Ronde is his Amarcord, namely that it's the best film to start with when exploring Ophuls, just as Amarcord is good starter-title for Fellini (not to wander, but this can actually turn into a game, picking good beginner films for challenging directors, like Band of Outsiders for Godard, etc...). The film means the circle, which relates to the circular motion in which a group of characters fall in love, starting with a prostitute and then moving around until the story makes its way back to the prostitute by the end. It's a charming little film, and while it's never more than a trifle, it does have some fairly edgy themes and dialogue for a 1950 film to give it some needed energy. And as always, Ophuls' camera is fun to keep an eye on, pulling off stunts that you just didn't really see back then. In the hands of another director, La Ronde would have been quite a bore.