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Bob Letellier, a good looking rich kid who studies science, makes the acquaintance of Alain, a cynical and immoral young man. The latter introduces him to the existentialist circles of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Bob is invited to a party and becomes Clo's lover, a rich heiress.
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Francois always despised the textile barons who ruled his local town. But he fell in love with the family heiress Gilberte. Ten years ago, he would have married her. Now only hatred holds them together. Francois is accused of murder. A hooker and a football star lie slaughtered. He thinks he has been framed by the mob. Going underground, he finds that the trail leads all the way to the top - to ... See full summary »
This has to be one of the dullest films of the early Sixties. Remember that Godard, Malle, Truffaut and company had been challenging the traditions of story telling; the world seemed young again, and full of possibilities. Moderato cantabile has nothing of this spirit. It might have been made by an old-guard director like Clément or Delannoy (if they had decided to take a chance on a Duras script).
There isn't much energy or interest in this story: what happens in the first ten minutes is endlessly rehashed throughout the remainder. Belmondo is ill at ease here, or at least seems that way to me--there is no chance for any extroversion, exuberance or even anger from the character. Jeanne Moreau is used decoratively (Brook must have seen what Resnais was able to do with Delphine Seyrig in Last Year In Marienbad) and always looks elegant, if never really desperate or anguished. You know something's wrong when the piano teacher provides much of the dramatic interest: she's bullying the child into giving her a Diabelli sonata "moderately, with a singing feeling".
Note: I have just remembered that Clément did do a Duras script (Barrage contre le Pacifique) in 1958.
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