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The Sophisticate and the Ingénue: Two Visions of la Parisienne in Jacques Deray’s La Piscine

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posted on 2017-05-23, 00:32 authored by Felicity Chaplin
On a balmy summer evening, guests are arriving at a remote villa on the Mediterranean for a night of drinking and dancing. On the terrace the sound of crickets fills the night air. Marianne (Romy Schneider) appears in an iridescent sequined dress, featuring a kaleidoscope of dusty pink, silver blue, bronze and gold. The shimmering v-neck sleeveless dress displays her curvaceous figure and reveals her bronzed arms, shoulders and décolletage. With her hair meticulously coiffed and wearing heavy eyeliner, she is the picture of glamorous and sophisticated eroticism. She places her arms around her former lover Harry (Maurice Ronet), slow dances with half-closed eyes and an irrepressible smile, her hair moving lightly in the gentle breeze. Across the terrace, beside the still water of the swimming pool, Harry’s eighteen-year-old daughter Penelope (Jane Birkin) rests her head tentatively on the shoulder of Marianne’s lover, Jean-Paul (Alain Delon). Dressed in high-waisted flared denim jeans and a white crew-neck t-shirt, her long hair worn out and undressed, Penelope epitomises the bohemian ingénue. Jacques Deray’s La Piscine (1969) offers two contrasting versions of la Parisienne: the sophisticate and the ingénue.


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