La fille aux yeux d'or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes) 1961

Henry Marsay: "Go, and sin in peace."
By Jean-Gabriel Albicocco
With Marie Laforêt, Paul Guers and Françoise Prévost

I decided to watch La fille aux yeux d'or because it is sometimes said to be one of the first depictions of a lesbian relationship in a movie.

The film starts with an introduction, telling us that Honoré de Balzac wrote a novel and that there are a lot of characters like his in our every day lives. We then proceed to learn more about the main male character Henri Marsay, who seems to be a player and serial seducer who is part of a group of friends who seem to bet on evil deeds.

Henry Marsay as a central character is quite the mystery. He is aggressively dominant, shows very little feeling for anyone else other than himself, doesn't mind slapping women he is with, shows off about his conquests to his friends and has only one female friend with whom he seems to have a blurry relationship with.

Needless to say that I pretty much hated the character from start to finish which made it really difficult for me to feel anything for him, even when by some twist of fate, he falls in love and is overcome with suffering when his love is taken away.

I just couldn't see this as a bad thing. The dialogues are also quite confusing as it seemed they were trying to quote from the novel but the quotes didn't quite fit in easily. Moreover, the lesbian relationship, for which I watched this film was severely minimized in order to foreground the heterosexual relationships. This seemed forced and unnatural and made me lose interest in the movie.

I liked: The music. The scenes of Paris. The female cast.

I disliked: The misogynistic and heteronormative story line. Henri Marsay, the protagonist. The confusing dialogue which gave no motive or explanation for most of the actions in the film. The ending. What is the role of the group of 13?

Maybe at the time, the mere idea of having a woman in love with a woman was already a big enough feat that everything else had to be overly macho to compensate. Even with that in mind, it was hard for me to empathize in any way with any character. Afterwards, whatever happened to the characters felt irrelevant to me.


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