Sunday, July 11, 2010

Le Depart

Jerzy Skolimowski's 1967 obscure New Wave comedy-drama is a must find for Jean Pierre Leaud fans. The movie opens with Marc (Leaud) borrowing (more like joyriding) a Porsche, and continuing through the rest of the film trying to get a car to join a Belgian car race. Marc works as a beautician and desires to race, though along the way he meets up with Michele (Catherine Duport) and she assists with helping Marc find a car (or at least forget about the race). The story is actually about Marc and Michele, and Marc's inability to be sexually physical or emotionally available to Michelle. I'm not quite sure if it's due to immaturity or if it's something else. But his character reminds me a little of Michael (John Moulder Brown) from Skolimowski's later film "Deep End" (1970) Both are impotent in emotional and sexual contact, when it comes down to making love with their potential partners. Both characters view things in a childish but surreal manner. "Le Depart" contains a scene in which Marc and Michele are in a car (that's on display at a car show) that splits in half allowing both passengers to be seated in the car to look at each other, but not able to touch (being that Marc refuses to let go of his childish notion to car race, the car is now what splits them apart). In "Deep End" Michael falls into the water after quarreling with some boys over Susan (Jane Asher) and underwater, he views a naked woman swimming underneath him. Again both films represent the out of reach sexual fantasy. Marc play with cars, and Michael sucks his thumb and has temper-tantrums. Both are boys, that have refused to give up a part of their childish ways, to make them free to live in a more mature sexually adult world. The difference in both are in the endings. Where Marc is able to forget about his notions of racing, and commit to Michele in a sexual way. Michael's fight to remain in his younger state, has sabotaged Susan's life in an explosive accident. Jerzy Skolimowski is trully an unrecognized director that deserves much more. Some of the greatest films of the late sixties to the late seventies were directed by Skolimowski ("Walkover," "Le Depart", "Deep End", and "The Shout"), though unfortunaely he goes unnoticed. If anyone can find this film, I recommend it. Funnily, I noticed that there wasn't much dialog in the film. Later I was to read that Polish director Skolimowski doesn't speak French at all, though it was filmed in Belgian. That must have been fun to direct? Highly recommended! The burning up of the film negative was a great closing!

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