François Truffaut acts the dandy, trying out assorted stylish moods and images -- carefree bicycle outings in misty countryside; soaring, swooping aerial shots; antique newsreels of trench warfare; Jeanne Moreau singing a bright little ditty in a rocking chair, or leaping fully clothed into the river on a sudden whim, or masquerading in the streets as a man with a cigar and painted mustache -- as though they were so many hats and handkerchiefs, in this consequently somewhat frantic and chaotic treatment of H-P Roche's novel about a liberated female of the Nineteen Teens and the two male friends who adore her. Moreau, small, dry, brittle, is asked to impersonate a spell-casting goddess, and though she goes very hard at this awestruck adolescent idea of Woman, she ends up as a sore spot. The bright spots are Georges Delerue's rich musical score and Raoul Coutard's acrobatically flexible camerawork. With Oskar Werner and Henri Serre. (1961) — Duncan Shepherd
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