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Love on the Run (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on January 26, 2013

Despite the liberal use of flashback clips — including a rather lengthy one from Bed and Board, and what feels like nearly the entirety of Antoine et Colette, all told — this is more than merely “Antoine Doinel’s Greatest Hits.”  There is a story here, although due to its reflective nature, it can’t help feeling a bit slight.  Antoine, having published a semi-fictional book about his experiences, sees his decisions and his flaws in a new light, reflected through the prism of three women.  Christine, who he has just divorced.  Colette, now a lawyer, who spots at a train station.  And Sabine, the current girlfriend who gets fed up with his inattentiveness.

It involves a lot of looking back, but there’s enough new material to make it worthwhile… though still the least satisfying of the Doinel cycle.  While there is some playfulness in the meta structure of it — some of the “flashbacks” are newly-created but feel like they come from some missing film in the series — it’s a more serious movie in general.  You have to rearrange your expectations a little.  The whimsical misadventures of Doinel give way to more introspective taking stock.

This isn’t an inherently bad thing.  Antoine (and Truffaut, and Léaud) is growing up, gaining valuable insight.  It is interesting, but it’s also less fun.  It’s telling the most carefree film in the series, Stolen Kisses, is the one that gets referenced the least.  Doinel still makes mistakes, but there’s not much silliness left to the character.  He’s even working at his most “normal” job yet, at a printing press (I think he’s an assistant editor or something, it isn’t made very clear).  It’s a natural progression for the character, and once you’ve gotten adjusted to the difference in tone (which honestly isn’t all that severe) there are rewards to be had.  The clips from prior films may not be entirely necessary — especially when you’ve just watched all of them — for the most part they aren’t terribly distracting.

As a sidenote, it’s a shame that Albert Rémy was not alive to make an appearance.  I would love to see Antoine reunite with his (step)father.  Still, the meeting with his mother’s lover (Julien Bertheau, not the same actor from 400 Blows) provides some of the film’s most poignant material.  Rating: Very Good (80)

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