December 18, 2016: I just dug this up out of the archives, written on New Year's Eve 2012, it was one of my earliest posts linking to Dreaming of France. I thought it was time for a redux:)
It's the last day of 2012 and I haven't done any Best of 2012 lists at all. C'est la vie! Today instead of fulfilling my blogger responsibilities I'm playing along with the Dreaming of France meme hosted by francofile Paulita Kincer at An Accidental Blog. It's a weekly meme where we share our passion for France, whether that's for a napoleon, a visit to Shakespeare & Co, or in this case, a good book and movie. I read the book, Bonjour Tristesse this past summer; written back in 1954 it's a sad story that stays with you. Francoise Sagan, the French author, was only 18 at the time at the time she wrote this debut novel, she later went on to write the more famous A Certain Smile, close to twenty novels, three collections of short stories and several plays.
The book was such a success that it was adapted for the screen by the great Otto Preminger. Fifties leading man David Niven stars as Cecile's father, a handsome wealthy bachelor playboy who treats her more like a pal than a daughter. Jean Seberg was young Cecile, the teenage girl who idolizes her dad and loves sharing his rather dissolute lifestyle, traipsing along on a series of dates to Parisian nightclubs. Classy Deborah Kerr plays Anne, an old family friend who comes to visit at the same time papa has a woman staying at their Mediterranean beach cottage. She stirs up the pot with her more conventional outlook and expectations. It's all very glamorous, gorgeous and tragic. I loved the black and white shots of Paris while the full on color shots of the south of France were blindingly beautiful.
"Endearing, self-absorbed, seventeen-year-old Cécile is the very essence of untroubled amorality. Freed from the stifling constraints of boarding school, she joins her father—a handsome, still-young widower with a wandering eye—for a carefree, two-month summer vacation in a beautiful villa outside of Paris with his latest mistress, Elsa. Cécile cherishes the free-spirited moments she and her father share, while plotting her own sexual adventures with a "tall and almost beautiful" law student. But the arrival of her late mother's best friend, Anne, intrudes upon a young girl's pleasures. And when a relationship begins to develop between the adults, Cécile and her lover set in motion a plan to keep them apart...with tragic, unexpected consequences.