Of all the French New Wave directors, Malle has proved the most versatile and accessible. He isn't afraid to handle delicate issues and he approaches his subjects with sensitivity and wit. Incest, perhaps the most unspeakable of all taboos, was the subject of MURMUR OF THE HEART. Malle's comic take makes for a wonderful, tender film which accurately portrays all the joys and agonies of adolescent sexuality. Ferreux is Laurent, the 14-year-old son of a French gynecologist. His mother Clara (Massari), who had married his father when she was 16, is a kindred spirit and his closest
confidante. Laurent's older brothers take him to a prostitute for his first sexual experience, but the drunken boys interrupt the tentative beginnings. Laurent later contracts scarlet fever, which leaves him with a heart murmur, and his mother takes him to a health health spa to recuperate. Mother
and son are both rejected by prospective lovers at a Bastille Day celebration and somehow turn to each other, with surprising results.
MURMUR is a film alive with energy. One never forgets those terrible moments of early adolescence, and this film recaptures the feelings with honesty, humor and sensitivity. Backed by a wonderful jazz score, the drama is made believable by its characters. Massari and Ferreux have a marvelous
chemistry that makes their relationship honest and understandable. Their lovemaking is treated in a subtle manner; Malle never dwells upon it, nor does he make it seem like a moment of depraved abandon. Instead, this is a special moment for two people who cannot explain their actions to outsiders.
Rather than create a paean to incest, Malle has created a song of life.
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- Released: 1971
- Rating: NR
- Review: Of all the French New Wave directors, Malle has proved the most versatile and accessible. He isn't afraid to handle delicate issues and he approaches his subjects with sensitivity and wit. Incest, perhaps the most unspeakable of all taboos, was the subject… (more)