La belle histoire (18-Mar-1992)
Director: Claude Lelouch
Writers: Maryline Dupoux; Claude Lelouch
Review by Ian Menkins (posted on 28-Aug-2007)
A truly captivating movie, or is it actually several movies wrapped up in one? The religious twist caught me completely by surprise and once I got into the first few minutes of this movie I was hooked. The movie is unique and spellbinding and somehow manages to synchronize Christianity with a gypsy-imbued belief in reincarnation, in a way that comes across with conviction and a sense of powerful reality. There is also a huge dose of simple humanity added to this magical recipe, thus separating it from any danger of mere pedantry or instruction. A rather long movie, but it manages to sustain the viewer's attention throughout. In fact I could not keep my eyes off the screen for the whole viewing. The emotional undercurrent at first seems subtle and subdued, but has a constant underlying intensity that is unavoidable and finally sweeps you away with it. You cannot help but get carried away by this movie. I love this movie and have watched it many times.
Possibly my only criticism is with the use of the same song/music, repeated ad nauseum throughout. Clearly real gypsies would have a much greater repertoire! Another minor problem I feel, is that many of the philosophical concepts were overtly and therefore unnecessarily stated, when the story itself should have been allowed to put forward these concepts.
The new release on dvd comes as part of a set of LeLouch movies, but appears to be a director's cut (?). I say this because it is sequenced a bit differently to the original film version that I saw on television many years ago. It is also missing the intro, which (if my memory serves me) had a radio announcer waxing philosophical on air, and sped up footage of car lights on busy multilane motorways. This introductory footage was superb in that it related directly to the later concepts of bees, and so I cannot really understand why it was left off of the later dvd release. Whatever the reasons I still give this movie a top rating, four stars, the best! This has become my favourite movie of all time.
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