Murmur Of The Heart

This semiautobiographical 1971 film by Louis Malle is one of his finest. Set in Dijon in the mid-50s, it concerns the sexual initiation of a precocious, intellectual, wealthy French adolescent (Benoit Ferreux), a process that’s assisted at one crucial point by his sensuous Italian mother (Lea Massari). Malle’s sense of the period and milieu is precise and confident throughout, as is his effective use of jazz (mainly Charlie Parker) on the soundtrack. The film is enjoyable, but viewers who find the aristocratic narcissism, the self-congratulating superiority, of most of Malle’s work repellent may think it’s a bit creepy. In French with subtitles. 110 min. With Michel Lonsdale, Daniel Gelin, Fabien Ferreux, and Ave Ninchi. (JR)

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