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Sentimental Education
(L'éducation sentimentale)

Directed by Alexandre Astruc.
With Jean-Claude Brialy, Marie-José Nat, Dawn Addams.
France/Italy, 1962, digital video, black & white, 95 min.
French with English subtitles.
Copy source: LCJ Editions

“The greatness of Astruc is to be a true avant-garde artist, modern but against the tide," wrote Cahiers du Cinéma at the release of what seems to be an adaptation of the famous novel by Flaubert, yet is actually a refined search for the possibilities of cinema—not to depict, but rather to give access to passion in a sensory way. Jean-Claude Brialy, who was omnipresent on the screens of the time—forty-five films between 1957 and 1963—and was the most often solicited actor by the directors of the New Wave, does indeed play a Frédéric trying, with more or less success, to seduce several women, as in the novel. But the staging contradicts, point by point, the practice of transposing great literary works into film—customary in official French cinema and vigorously denounced by Truffaut.

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