Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
France, 1971. Les Films du Carrosse, Cinétel. Screenplay by Francois Truffaut, Jean Gruault, based on the novel Deux Anglaises et le Continent by Henri-Pierre Roche. Cinematography by Nestor Almendros. Produced by Marcel Berbert. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by Michel de Broin. Costume Design by Gitt Magrini. Film Editing by Martine Barraqué, Yann Dedet.
Truffaut returns to the work of Henri-Pierre Roche, who wrote the original novel upon which Jules And Jim was based, for a beautiful love triangle completely opposite to its predecessor. While Jules and Jim rang out with modernity, its characters passionately leaping across the boundaries of time to tell a story that is steeped in the sexual and intellectual rebellion of its time, Two English Girls revels in its period trappings, indulging the viewer as much with its gorgeous sets and costumes as with the romantic poetry of its dialogue and story. Jean-Pierre Léaud, at his most appealing, plays a young Parisian whose friendship with a visiting Welsh girl (Kika Markham) leads to his visiting her home in Wales and falling in love with both her and her younger, less confident sister. The romantic entanglements that ensue over the next decade, loosely inspired by the Bronte sisters and their complications with Marcel Proust, provide for a rich adventure full of warm wit, sexy discoveries and bittersweet wisdom. Nestor Almendros reaches a new height of artistry with his bewitching photography, while Truffaut as director, writer (and narrator to boot) accomplishes his best marriage of literature and cinema. The film was originally released at just over a hundred minutes, then a decade later (just prior to the auteur’s death) was re-released with twenty extra minutes that now seem impossible to do without.