France, 1942. During the Nazi Occupation, the Ardennes falls in the "forbidden zone" between the German Occupied North and the Vichy governed South. Its inhabitants face starvation as ... See full summary »
Two ten-year-old children, Gloria and Jacques, meet at the former's birthday party. It is love at first sight and they vow eternal love. Unfortunately, the First World War breaks out and ... See full summary »
Claude Sauvage ,a young gynecologist ,while preparing her thesis, replaces doctor Ferriere ,in a small village .She meets a young schoolteacher who contracted German measles at the beginning of her pregnancy and is very much afraid that she can give birth to an abnormal child .Ferriere does not want to hear about abortion, but Claude decides to help the distressed young woman.She carries out the operation ,but the schoolteacher's mother gives her away to the police.Written by
The follow-up to "Journal D'Une Femme En Blanc ",it continues Autant-Lara's fight for women's right to own and control their own body ;aka "Le Nouveau Journal D'Une Femme En blanc",some critics,including famous director Bertrand Tavernier ,rates this part higher than the first one.I shall not give this opinion my backing.
This is a sprawling movie which attempts to do too many things at once: the disabled child ,drowned in the river,"because he wants to be like the other ones ",it could be a whole movie ;ditto for the drug addiction of the doctor's brother.But there's worse : the big brother's relationship with a married woman whose husband is going to die soon ,it's worthy of Harlequin romance.
That said ,it's still a courageous movie ,an unqualified must in the French sixties cinema .All that concerns the schoolteacher's fears is absorbing :she contracted German measles at the beginning of her pregnancy and she knows she can give birth to an abnormal baby .Gynecologist Claude ,who replaces her doctor sides with her ,but the adamant man claims that one baby out of four can be healthy
(what about the three others?probability is not on his side),and on behalf of this lucky one, he urges his patient to keep her child ;he goes as far as to say :" even if a person with cancer is terminally-ill,I would continue the treatment till the end ",words that are still relevant at the time of assisted suicide.
A viewer who has seen the first movie may seem lost in the first minutes: the urban background has become a country village where people (particularly women)do not trust a woman doctor ; Marie-José Nat ,who was the star of the first movie ,has been replaced by Claude Volle, a competent actress,but who does not possess her colleague's sensitiveness, charisma and radiance ;Volle will be really convincing in the second half only;but one regrets Nat all along the way .
All the scenes between Claude and her patient,the schoolteacher, are the core of the movie ; the desperate chase, the operation in the hospital under the nuns' disapproving eyes; and Claude whose fights for women ,is betrayed by a woman!The questioning by the police captain (and Claude's answers )was also featured in the first movie(and quite similar).
Like the conscientious objector from "Tu Ne Tueras Point", Claude will certainly get a severe sentence.People ahead of their time have always been dangerous .
Some will say Autant-Lara's attitude in the eighties ,when he joined the far-right wing was downright obnoxious ;but in the sixties his sincerity cannot be called into question.
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