La Piscine (1969) {spoiler alert}

The last movie for April 2017, watched on a tiring much too hot summer afternoon to take my mind off the heat and life in general.

And it did its job.

I picked it because I find young Romy Schneider gorgeous and her stills from La Piscine looked gorgeous. It is a gorgeous movie. It is the first time I watched a European movie from the sixties and it was a good experience. I liked the long shots with all the underlying erotica. The erotica was neither uncomfortable nor forced – I think that was what I liked about it.

I like the general tone of the sixties where a lot was about romance. Jealousy, affairs, age difference, possessiveness, passions – those are all very gorgeous topics and one of the main joys of the realm of art.

Also, Alain Delon was headily sexy – like an overwhelmingly perfect perfume your senses are subjected to for a full two hours (without getting used to it for even one second). The fusion of art and sensuality, when well done, is one of my favourite means of enjoyment so, yes, The Swimming Pool left a very good impression on me. I came out seeking Romy Schneider (and wasn’t disappointed) and left mesmerised by Alain Delon. Watching more of Delon’s movies is now on my list.

I liked how there was sensuality around every character and how the writer takes time exploring the sensual dynamics between all four. The scene where Jean Paul flogs Marianne with the tree branch was distraugtingly erotic.

Marianne was my favourite character as such. She is in love with Jean Paul but he is seeking out something more while still being possessive and jealous about Marianne, especially when Marianne’s old lover and his old pal, Henry shows up. Marianne never quite speaks about Henry to Jean Paul and that makes him even more jealous. I think Marianne was quite besotted by Jean Paul especially since she felt that he needed her. She wanted a place in his life which no other woman could have but she realised that Jean Paul isn’t one to be bound this way. She tests him with the young (guiltily erotic) Penn. (Penn deserves her own serenades.) And Jean Paul falls for her. Marianne is devastated but absolutely proud and graceful still. Her decision to shield Jean Paul after learning that he indeed killed Henry is scary somehow. Penn is out of the scene and she is the only one who knows Jean Paul’s secret. That makes Jean Paul want her by his side all the time. I don’t understand this part very well but I can see Jean Paul killing Marianne some time in the future – or maybe not. Maybe Marianne will kill him. Sort of reminiscent of Gone Girl.

I’m not sure what the general consensus on sex scenes was in Europe in the sixties but the movie certainly didn’t need them. I suppose a remake in this era would warrant quite some sex scenes but it is mad how this movie is so highly sexual – beautifully sexual – without them. Penn, in all of her eighteen year old glory, rakes up more guilty sexual feelings than Marianne as the story advances. The scene where Henry makes a move on Marianne (after learning that Jean Paul has taken out Penn) – that was definitely one of my favourites.

Even the scene where Henry and Jean Paul have their confrontation seemed to set some sexual dynamics between the two.

The whole movie is really frigging hot and to be that hot without explicit scenes is hotter. I suppose this is the genre called ‘sixties sexy European movies’ and it is really something.


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