, 97min, OmdU
Based on three stories by Guy de Maupassant, LE PLAISIR is an unusual anthology film in that it places its longest and lightest episode at the center: “La Maison Tellier”, the story of a provincial bawdyhouse that ceases operation for 24 hours to allow the “filles de joie” to attend the first communion of the madam’s niece, which takes place in a tiny village deep in the countryside. Featuring Madeleine Renaud, Danielle Darrieux and Jean Gabin, this segment, with its pastoral setting and gentle sentiment, is bookended by two short, violent, urban tales.
The opening sequence, filmed in a dizzying swirl of camera move- ment, is titled “ The Mask” and offers a quick, trenchant sketch of an old man besotted by sensual pleasure. The final section, “The Model”, is the love story of a painter and his model, that concludes in rising chords of bitterness, tragedy and remorse. As the narrator watches the now elderly couple walk by, he observes, “Happiness is not always gay.” (Dave Kehr)
Authorized version by Max Ophüls with german voice-over by Adolf Wohlbrück.