The Lovers (1958)

The Lovers

Because I love great films — and Brahms — tonight we are watching Les Amants (1958), The Lovers, starring Jeanne Moreau and directed by Louis Malle, who is probably best known for his controversial film Pretty Baby (1978) featuring Brooke Shields as a child prostitute in a early 19th century New Orleans brothel.

The Lovers was not without controversy either. More than one theater owner caught hell for showing it in the United States. In fact, some poor sap in Ohio got himself arrested and tried on obscenity charges for showing the film. Juxtaposing this film against the garbage that stands for entertainment today makes those “offenses” ludicrous.

(The trial from those charges, by the way, brought into our vernacular the well-known expression “I know it when I see it” definition of pornography. When Justice Stewart wrote the decision he was deciding against the obscenity charge.)

Sure, the film plods along by today’s standards and it isn’t quite as beautiful as the classic Italian films of the same era, but still this is quite the film and features the best love scene in a row boat ever put on the screen. (Maybe it’s the Brahms.)

The Lovers is a simple story of love and infidelity in a bourgeois world where no one really gives a damn. It’s a daydream. That’s all. And like all day dreams, it ends when the dreamer moves on to something else.



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