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Saturday, April 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 64.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Paris Does Strange Things (elena et les hommes)
Rated
Although the English dubbing hurts this film - Jean Renoir himself has said that, in more civilized times, "dubbers" would have been burned at he stake for presuming to put soul of one person into the body of another - it remains a charming, effervescent, thoroughly delightful comedy. It is Renoir's rumination on the notorious "Boulander Affair," that archetypal erotic-political scandal; and it features on of Ingrid Bergman's most sensual and amusingly seductive performances. Here is a comment on "Elena" by the brilliant French critic-director Jean-Luc Godard: "...If Elena' is the French filme par excellence, it is because it is the most intelligent film in the world. Art and at the same time the theory of art. Beauty and at the same time the secret of beauty...'Elena' is Renoir's most Mozartian film. Not so much in its exterior appearance, like "the Rules of the Game," but in its philosophy. The man who finishes 'French Can Can" and prepares for 'Elena' is, morally, a little like the man who completes the Concerto for Clarinet and launches into "The Magic Flute". In substance, the same irony and the same distaste. In form, the same audacity of simplicity. To the question, "What is Cinema?" "Elena" replies: 'More than cinema.'"
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