Bonjour Tristesse returns to UK cinemas

Otto_Preminger's_Bonjour_TristesseI 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.

Bonjour Tristesse book coverThe fact the novel was published when Sagan was just 18 gave the novel an added glow in my envious, awe-inspired eyes.

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.