Directed by: François Truffaut
Starring: François Truffaut, Nathalie Baye, Jean Dasté, Patrick Maléon, Jane Lobre
Supposedly, this little film from François Truffaut — who also plays the lead role — is one of the filmmaker’s most personal works. There’s certainly evidence of this since the photographs of the honored dead on the wall of a disused chapel that Julien Davenne (Truffaut) turns into a personal shrine include both people from Truffaut’s own life and some he simply admired. The screenplay by Truffaut and Jean Gruault was adapted from two Henry James novellas. (If nothing else, that should clue you in on the fact that the movie is the furthest thing from “action-packed.”) Set in the 1920s, it concerns a man, Davenne, who is in a state of perpetual mourning for his late wife, but more, he’s a man who appears to be consumed by guilt simply for not being among the dead or maimed of the First World War. He’s obsessed with the past and the idea of keeping the memories of the dead alive — to the point that he denies himself any kind of real life of his own since to move ahead strikes him as a betrayal. (He’s outraged when an old friend remarries.) The film is nothing if not on the morbid side, but it’s also strangely involving — and occasionally quite beautiful. Unfortunately, whatever visual delights the film may have had are badly represented in the current copies that are available, which are quite muddy and murky, and do the film no favors.
The Hendersonville Film Society will show The Green Room Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.
In Brief: François Truffaut directs and stars in this adaptation of two Henry James stories—an odd and decidedly small-scale work for the filmmaker. The story concerns a man who is obsessed with his dead wife—and indeed all of the dead people in his life. It’s certainly interesting — occasionally fascinating — but it’s undeniably morbid.