Berthe & Nomadic Lives
is the story of a young woman who was traumatized by an event in her childhood, and she lives locked in her room, silent and alienated. One day, a doctor decides to re-establish contact between her and other people. But he treats her as though she were one of Pavlov's dogs, and after an “arranged” marriage to a dissolute individual, she suffers a second crisis and is once again locked up.
“This difficult story is translated to the screen in a very pure, introspective way. Claire Wauthion acts splendidly in a virtually silent role and the film deservedly won the acclaim, and an award, at Namur, where everyone declared that Berthe marked a new and significant step forward in the career of Patrick Ledoux.” -Paul Davay, “1978 International Film Guide.”
Before Berthe, Patrick Ledoux (born 1934) had made one feature, Klann (1970), and a number of shorts.
• Directed by Patrick Ledoux. ZDF Producer, Sibylle Hubatschek-Rahn. Screenplay by Ledoux from a novel by Guy de Maupassant. Photographed by Claude Michiels. Music by Patrick Ledoux. With Claire Wauthion, Alphonse Lippe, Suzy Falk. (Belgium, 1976, 60 mins, 35mm, color, No English titles, Print Courtesy of The Goethe Institute)
is the first long work by young New York filmmaker Mark Obenhaus, who gained considerable attention with his prize-winning short Merc (1973). Nomadic Lives was made with support from both ZDF and French television.
“Obenhaus's Nomadic Lives has some things to recommend it, including its two leading performers, Marcia Jean Kurtz... and James Carrington....
“They play Gretchen and Wesley, a young go-go dancer and a quick-sketch artist who share a New Jersey trailer-home and, in the course of the movie, appear to be coming apart in mutual boredom. Of the two, Gretchen is especially funny and appealing. Trudging through the early morning mess in her trailer, Gretchen looks like a skinny, disgruntled City College dropout. In her fancy wig, false eyelashes and go-go costume, she's a reasonable facsimile of a would-be hooker.
“As Miss Kurtz and Mr. Carrington fight, reconcile and fight again, they create two almost prototypical characters of today's aimless, affluent society.” -Vincent Canby, New York Times, Dec. 1977
• Written and Directed by Mark Obenhaus. ZDF Production Executives, Eckart Stein and Annegret Even. With Marcia Jean Kurtz and James Carrington. (1977, 57 mins, color, Print Courtesy of Mark Obenhaus)