BONJOUR TRISTESSE and Anne Sexton's THE NUDE SWIM
“On the southwest side of Capri we found a little unknown grotto..."
Bonjour Tristesse begins with Cecile (played by Jean Seberg) dancing with a young man, and though they move together, her mind is elsewhere. She looks over his shoulder towards the camera, confiding silently with her eyes. The void within her gaze is terrifying, her eyes dark and oceanic, water of an indeterminable depth. Any openness of her face is eclipsed by his blank, broad shoulder. In voice-over, she narrates: “I’d like to warn him but he wouldn’t understand.” The audience does not know who “he” is; we are not given insight or access into the man she dances with. And yet, as we will soon learn, the figure of the man becomes interchangeable in the perilous cycle of the dance.
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