If this film was a painting it would be a Jackson Pollack…nice to look at, but no idea what it is about. It was released in 1961 and is an Italian/French production, in French.
There is no real story, and the characters have no names. There are three main protagonists, two dapper dudes and a stylish woman. It appears one of the dapper dudes is trying to convince the woman shack up with him, and the other dude, who is either a beau or husband, is scheming a bit. He is a gambler and continuously beats the other dude at a simple but difficult card game, really getting on the dudes nerves.
The rest of the film is just lots of dialogue about statues, gardens, doors, photographs, mirrors, and hotels. Often the dialogue is repeated or recycled, we hear the same thing over and over again. Also, there is a lot of pipe organ music, dark stuff, playing throughout. Sometimes all of the characters including many extras just freezing in unison with the camera slowly moving past them, then unfreeze. Or, they will all freeze except one of the main actors who slowly glides past them. There is a lot of slow in this film, although in one scene Dapper Dude 1 and the woman are slowly walking along one of the many corridor shots, then suddenly speed up for no apparent reason.
At lot of the film was made inside or outside a couple of large palaces in Germany, quite amazing places. For me that was the most interesting part of the film.
This film is a “left bank” new wave French film, just a fancy way of saying it is an experimental film made by ultra-hipster directors. “Right bank” films were more commercially successful, and less pretentious, and included directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut. I am definitely right bank.
Most film critics say this is one of the greatest films ever made, some say that it is pretentious nonsense, and some just don’t know what to make of it. Mostly I just found this quite dull, and confusing as heck. Read this review, it gives you a good idea of what real reviewers say.
The director himself said there was no story and no meaning to the film, just take from it what you will…fair enough. For me it was just a very nice film to look at, especially as it was filmed in nice black and white (one scene noticeably changed to greys and whites) , and also in widescreen which suited the location.
If someone asks me what this film is about, I will slowly walk away from them, preferably down the nearest corridor.
Confuse-O-meter score: 8/10
Film count 2018: 84