Archive for March 11, 2023


Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , on March 11, 2023 by dcairns

I should see more Michel Deville. Sadly, this thought was triggered by the fact that he just died. I recalled having caught half of LA LECTRICE once and liked what I saw, and by some chance I’d scored a DVD of it a while back in a charity shop, so I popped it on. I’d recalled it being pleasantly erotic-tinged, as anything with Miou Miou in tends to be, but through missing a chunk of it I was unaware that it makes surprising forays into full-on smut. Tasteful French smut but quite explicit.

It’s a sort of postmodern conceit — Miou Miou reads a story to her lover about a woman, Miou Miou, who becomes a visiting reader, traveling about her small town reading to anyone who wants read to. One client is Maria Casares, Death from Cocteau’s ORPHEE, the only other famous person (I think) in the film, who gives an extremely zesty perf.

The film was as charming as I remembered it — it might have been even MORE charming without the more racy visual material, or without the tendency to turn every situation erotic. I enjoyed the colour-coordinated costumes and sets, though this being 1988 sometimes the design veers into the realms of le hideux.

I HUGELY enjoyed the editing — this turned out to be by Raymonde Guyot, who mainly seems to have cut for Deville and his frequent collaborator Nina Companeez. Low-key jump-cuts, really cute. They’re not jarring, they make scenes pop and sparkle. Frequently the choice to create a mini-jump looks to have been made despite the material existing for a smoother continuity: in my experience, such choices usually come up when perfect continuity has been achieved but found lacking. This kind of experimentation is likelier if the director has not dumped miles of footage on the poor cutter, but has behaved economically. With a more limited range of materials, the editor has more time to play.

Watch the jumper!