Sunday, February 8, 2009

Les aventuriers (1967)

Based on José Giovanni's novel, the story is different from his other works, which is usually about prisoners. Actor Alain Delon saw Les grandes gueules (1966) by director Robert Enrico and wanted to work with him.

Les aventuriers is a beautiful movie about adventure and friendship. It starts with the arrival of a beautiful girl, Laetitia (Joanna Shimkus), into the life of two best friends: Roland (Lino Ventura), a mechanic who dreams to make the fastest car; and Manu (Alain Delon), an acrobatic pilot. A series of misfortunes come: Manu loses his licence, Roland's racing car is burned, and Laetitia's first exhibition receives fierce criticsm. All three go to Kongo to search for a treasure in a crashed plane. On their way, they meet the pilot of the missing plane, and from there it's not difficult to find the ruin. But can the money make them happier than they are now?

This is one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen. It's also beautiful. Once you've seen it, you can't forget the name of Laetitia (and perhaps will whistle the theme song). The last part of the movie was shot in the famous Fort Boyard. The restoration is very well done. The movie is so clear that it seems it was only made yesterday. The under water scenes were well handled, that I can see what the characters are doing: which one is Roland, which one is Manu, and which one is the pilot. The pilot (Serge Reggiani) asks Manu, how come Laetitia is only a friend? However, the time is perhaps right, or perhaps wrong, and Laetitia is taken from them quickly, that the friendship between Roland and Manu is left intact. Roland is older than his friend, and wiser. He voluntarily shares with Manu the guilt for having taken Laetitia to Congo. Manu tries to forget Laetitia by returning to his old girlfriend, but early in the morning when she wakes up he is gone. Where? To a place where he has seen Laetitia in her glory. In the end, to please Manu, Roland says to him that she said to Roland how she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Manu. Manu knows he is lying, for if she really said so, she would say it to Manu herself- and not to someone else.

The music by François de Roubaix is beautiful. Too bad the DVD doesn't include the Laetitia song sung by Delon. Also too bad that there is no DVD of this movie with English subtitles. This is a great movie and deserves a wider release.

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