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IFI CLASSIC (SCREENING EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI)
In 1956, Otto Preminger famously picked Jean Seberg to play the lead in Saint Joan from 18,000 hopefuls in a highly publicised casting contest. Seberg was notoriously badly treated, both on the set of that film and by the critics who panned it, and Bonjour Tristesse was set up as her second chance. While it fared no better at the time than their previous collaboration, both Preminger and Seberg were feted by the Nouvelle Vague, and Bonjour Tristesse led directly to Seberg being cast in Godard’s Breathless.
Now restored and reappraised, Bonjour Tristesse reveals itself as a treasurable delight. Depicting the life of jet-setting socialites on the French Riviera in glorious CinemaScope, Seberg plays the free-spirited Cécile, the teenage daughter of rich playboy Raymond (David Niven), who fears for her comfortable lifestyle when Raymond plans to marry his late wife’s best friend, Anne (Deborah Kerr).(Notes by Michael Hayden.)