Whimsical and soaked in inneuendo, La Ronde is, like its title suggests, a film in perpetual motion, as sexual desire and love (not always the same thing) overlap in 12 connected scenes, compered by the incomparable Anton Walbrook as the gentlemanly ringmaster. More trifling than the play from which it is derived, this film was fairly risque for the time, with adultery, impotence and prostitution making up its plot.
Quite daring foray into the sensual realm masterfully directed. It's not love we're talking about, it's that underground river called sex, which runs below society's norms. Ophüls takes the carousel image to show the transient nature of desire, using lavish sets and a constantly moving camera. You can feel the lovers heat although very little action is shown.
Truly a carousel of the little deviations and expectations of love, presented as a succession of short episodes among the characters in intimate settings. I always got the feeling of being an invisible observer of those private dialogues. The camera work is excellent with some little details in the shots and movement (the bedroom shot with the colck comes to mind). A great tale, in a magical and idealistic ambience.
One of Ophuls' best films, this one revels in the artificiality of love, beautifully depicted through a circular structure of storytelling and puncutated by the narrator's modernist device of the mechanical references to the carousel. This contrast (love's purity vs. mechanical artificiality/social roles) is captured by the exquisite and crystalline cinematography of C.Matras. Glittering!
Great fun. Loved Walbrook's Godlike character, with all the fourth wall breaking and general tongue in cheekery, as well as the simple plot. Ophuls shows his talent well here and fills La Ronde with about as much love and lust that could pass the censorship board in those days. A film more open about promiscuity I have yet to run across from the era. If you like this, seek out his others. Ophuls was a master. 5 stars
Dunno, I probably need to watch it again sometime. Those fin-de-siecle bourgeois dramedies don't do much for me (unless they're called The Rules of the Game), and the plot here feels very convoluted and I must say I did find it slightly dull at spots. Funny and charming, but Ophüls had much better films than this.