Set in France in 1917, this film is about non-combatant pianist Julien and the numerous efforts of his friend Jacques, a military flier, to come to his aid, both in terms of finding concert opportunities and in arranging romantic assignations.
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A principle strength of RENDEZ-VOUS A BRAY is its solemn, dignified sportiveness. The spontaneous natures of both reminiscence & the immediate here & now destabilize the persistent mournful wartime demeanor. Delvaux's strict narrative construction, heavily dependent upon the flashback, does not invalidate unstudied aesthetic diversions such as pink paper falling through the sky, or details of a friend's oil painting.
A sort of domestic surrealism (not the shock-tactics of the Dada, but the surrealism of the flow of affective investment, of memory and desire, of the strangeness of places without people and people out of place) in musical form. It reproduces cinematically a mode of feeling for form that redeems its occasional artiness. And with Feuillade, Goya and Burne-Jones making cameos, it is hard to resist indeed ;)
4,5/5 - A film about objects, sounds and tastes and the memories they invoke. The logic of association is the imperative formal rule here. There's also a blank Anna Karina as some kind of Vestal virgin, waiting for the climactic ritual that sends all lingering desires to bed (literally). I'm still puzzled over what was up with that love triangle (?), but I didn't let it spoil the fun.