December 8, 2012

The corners of the mouth...

"Coincidentally, sharing its Paris release with Pauline à la plage was yet another film on the ineradicable prestige of childhood. En rachâchant is a fictional short directed by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, scripted by Maguerite Duras and shot in bleak black and white by that Méliès de la lumière, Henri Alekan. (This title, alas, cannot even be translated into French; but, according to Yann Lardeau in Cahiers du Cinéma, it onomatopoeically hints at harping on, harking back, buying back, muttering, mumbling, chewing, knowing, fretting, fuming and murdering ! ) Though not as funny as, say Some Like It Hot, it is indubitably a comedy, with little Olivier Straub, as handsome and owlish as his parents' films [sic, O. Straub is J.-M. Straub's nephew], blowing a gleeful raspberry at the authority of his betters, much as Charles Laughton did in  If I Had a Million (Lubitsch). Its running time is just 7 minutes and 30 seconds. I could have wished for it to last, oh, twice as long."
- Gilbert Adair, "Films by Resnais, Rohmer, and the Straubs", 
Sight and Sound, Summer '83

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