I was attracted to the THE THINGS OF LIFE, the Claude Sautet series at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, as he is one of those directors whose work I do not know well but which is of evident quality and importance. A contemporary of Nouvelle Vague figures like Godard, Rohmer, Varda and Truffaut, he was nonetheless not part of that movement and, indeed, I perceived in César et Rosalie a sensibility that was more domestic melodrama than art house. I found myself thinking of Douglas Sirk and even of TV’s Dallas, yet to make such equations would be absurd and clearly unfair, since unlike Sirk the film delves deeply into the everyday (like Rohmer) and in contrast to the primetime soap its superficial jealousies and attractions are peeled back to reveal profounder tensions and desires (here Strindberg came to mind more than once). It is in fact one of the qualities of the film that it generates associations not so much with other plots as with other sensibilities, including not just those already mentioned, but also Resnais in his more recent work and the French crime and suspense traditions exemplified by Melville and Clouzot. This is a series worth exploring, and schedule permitting I will be checking out as many of the offerings as possible.

For information on the Film Society of Lincoln Center, visit them here.

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