I remember being entranced by the clear, fresh prose of Bonjour Tristesse when I first encountered Françoise Sagan’s novel. My edition was the translation by Irene Ash, and the opening line seemed almost unutterly romantic to my 15-year-old self: A strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sadness.
Otto Preminger’s screen interpretation of Bonjour Tristesse, starring Jean Seberg And David Niven, returns to cinemas from 30th August. I wonder if it will introduce a new generation of infatuants (yes, I think I did invent that word, but you know what I mean, don’t you?) to the 1930s scandal rag turned literary masterpiece.
The beautiful new restoration is described as ‘a bittersweet father-daughter tale dramatising the extremes of relationships.’
Jean Seberg plays precocious seventeen-year-old Celine, who flits off to the Mediterranean with her free-spirited father Raymond (David Niven), where the duos relentless pursuit of pleasure can only end in tragedy. The film sounds like a work of art, with a monochrome Paris set against flashbacks to a colour-drenched summer in the Riviera. If it comes to a cinema near you, go and see it!
Sony Pictures’ Bonjour Tristesse will open in the UK on 30th August at BFI Southbank and selected cinemas nationwide.