Pauline at the Beach (1983)
Directed by Eric Rohmer
Cast: Amanda Langlet, Arielle Dombsale, Pascal Greggory, Fedoor Atkine, Simon De La Brosse, Rosette.
1983 94 minutes - French - Subtitled
Rated: (for nudity and sexual situations).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 5, 1998.
Eric Rohmer's "Pauline at the Beach," is one of those small, deliberately paced, but charming foreign films in which not much happens plot wise, but a lot happens to the characters emotionally.
The film takes place during a few weeks of August at the Normandy Coast, and centers on six different characters, primarily Pauline (Amanda Langlet), a wise beyond her years 15-year-old who has come to stay for the summer with her older cousin, Marion (Arielle Dombasle). On the first day at the beach, Marion runs into an old high school flame (Fedoore Atkine), and although he wants to rekindle their relationship, she is more interested in an older, more seductive womanizer (Pascal Greggory), who is also secretly having an affair with a candy vendor (Rosette). While Pauline watches as an outsider at what is happening between all of the adults, she forms a relationship of her own with a young teenage boy (Simon De La Brosse).
"Pauline at the Beach," is not a film in which big dramatic things occur, and there is not a clear-cut, tidy conclusion to the story. Instead, it is a picture that simply observes its characters in every day life, and the surprises come from little character details. The film is quite talky and slow moving, and so it is pretty safe to say it isn't for those who are only a fan of action movies, but is a treat for those viewers who often like to venture outside of the big-budget genre and see a good art film.
This is the first film by acclaimed director Eric Rohmer (1969's "My Night at Mauds," and 1971's "Claire's Knee") that I have seen, but his direction is assured and intelligent, as is the screenplay, which he also wrote. "Pauline at the Beach," is a film worth seeing.
© by Dustin Putman