Le combat dans l'île

Cavalier's first feature, produced by Louis Malle, embeds the political tensions and contradictions of early-sixties France in a New Wave love triangle. Anne (Romy Schneider) and Clément (Jean-Louis Trintignant) could be a model bourgeois couple, were it not for Clément's jealous rages—and the burlap-wrapped bazooka stowed in the hall closet. Clément, we learn, is a member of a right-wing extremist group and a would-be political assassin. Forced to flee Paris, he brings Anne with him to the rural home of his childhood friend Paul (Henri Serre of Jules and Jim), who is everything Clément is not: rustic, gentle, and, as Clément derisively spits, “a democrat.” With Paul, the essentially apolitical Anne comes to her own kind of radical consciousness, summed up in the simple statement, “I exist.” The fresh and lovely cinematography, with its fleeting images and spontaneous impressions of Paris and the countryside, is by Pierre Lhomme, who supervised this new print.
—Juliet Clark

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