In 40 years and 30 films Michel Deville has relentlessly experimented with form while offering an incredible variety of characters and themes. A director who likes challenges, whether writing original scripts or adapting literary works, Deville this time has, together with his wife and screenwriter Rosalinde, taken his inspiration from Robert Bober’s autobiographical Quoi de neuf sur la guerre?, a novel about the author’s childhood in the workshop of his father, a Jewish tailor in the garment district of Paris. The period is just after the War, when Jews can at last breathe the air of freedom and start again to believe in life, and a little tailor’s shop is rebuilding. Parents and children, adulterous relationships, amorous encounters, voluntary isolation—the whole spectrum of experience in this small shop—is rendered with grace, emotion and humor by a brilliant cast. This is a Shop Around the Corner in the aftermath of the Holocaust, where Deville—with a style close to music—directs with a delicate and moving touch. Almost exclusively set within the walls of the workshop, the film, with its nostalgic use of still photographs, has an elegiac quality enhanced by the music of little-known 19th century composer, Giovanni Bottesini. –SFIFF
Michel Deville (born 13 April 1931) is a French film director and screenwriter.
Deville started his filmmaking career in the late 1950s, paralleling the emergence of the French New Wave directors. He never achieved the level of critical and international recognition of some of his contemporaries such as François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Chabrol, possibly because of his more conventional filmmaking style. Nevertheless his films, especially his comedies from the 1970s and 1980s, were popular in his native France.
One of Deville’s comedies, La Lectrice (“The Reader”) was probably his biggest success with international audiences. La Lectrice is about a woman (played by Miou-Miou), who finds work reading novels for the blind but gradually finds herself unwittingly attracting a clientele of fetishists who enjoyed being read to. At one time his films were difficult to find in North America but presently(2007) seven of his films are available in DVD in the U.S.
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