Bicycling with Molière
(Alceste à bicyclette)
Philippe Le Guay
Bicycling with Molière is a talky film, but it is after all a film about talk, about how Molière said things and about how two contemporary actors interpret his verse in such a way as to reveal themselves to each other, and to us. The deft screenplay (see credits below) explores the professional lives of a television star (and good actor) and a seasoned stage performer as they rehearse for a planned revival of Molière’s Le Misanthrope. We hear how they view themselves, their work and their public, and we see how they handle their celebrity. Characters evolve before our eyes as we change our minds about whom we like and whom we don’t.
Though the color and photography of France’s northern landscape are splendid, we do not see a lot of it nor of the cozy French village where the famous television actor has gone to stay with his old actor friend. While the movie appears to use few of the cinema’s resources; film, beginning with its teen years, has sought to record great performers (Sarah Bernhardt, Henry Irving). Here we have a case of the camera capturing two good actors playing actors talking about acting and revealing their souls. We end up knowing them so well that we are as alarmed as they are when matters begin to take a serious and painful turn.
Fabrice Luchini and Lambert Wilson are outstanding as the friends and rival actors. Maya Sansa is an excellent foil to both as their sexy Italian neighbor, and Camille Japy is perfectly cast as a surprisingly innocent young porn star with her own view of acting.
Among the background music is Yves Montand’s “Bicyclette.”
imdb offers two sensitive, analytical reviews of Bicycling with Molière by dromasca and by dimitris-maglaras As of this writing they are the two lead reviews at that site.
imdb credits Fabrice Luchini and director Le Guay with the original idea, Le Guay with the screenplay and mentions Emmanuel Carrière as collaborator.
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For northeast Ohio
Rohmer IN ReelMASSILLON
This evening, August 29 at 7:00 P.M., Kurtiss Hare of Akron Film + Pixel and cinefrisco.tumblr.com is showing Eric Rohmer’s A SUMMER’S TALE at the Lincoln Theatre in Massillon. Steven Putsay from Malone College will introduce the movie.
NEXT FRIDAY POST September 5
See you at the movies,