I’m generally near the front of the line when it comes to gushing over pretentious French films, but I’m not quite ready to get behind this quasi-Catholic parable about good and evil about a girl and her donkey. Both girl and donkey are extremely sympathetic and cute, but if I want a somber meditation on the pathos of innocence starring a mystical waif, I’ll take Dreyer; and if I want creepy small town boys dancing to rock and roll radio and frightening/enticing young girls, I’ll take Welles. Sorry, but the specter of the French hoods on their mopeds just made me laugh out loud.
Alert to DVD renters: The best part of the Criterion Collection edition is the inclusion of a French TV program which coincided with the movie’s release. Do NOT miss this; it contains priceless footage of Jean-Luc Godard (who looks furtive and sweaty as a child molester), Louis Malle, and, best of all, Marguerite Duras, who is simply mesmerizing to watch (Wendy sez: “She’d fit right in walking down a sidewalk in Manhattan in 2008.”).