Bikes on Film: Bicycling with Moliere


Bicycling with Moliere is a modern telling of the Seventeenth Century comedy, the Misanthrope, by Moliere. Had this film been performed in English, i would likely not have seen it through to the end; it just wouldn't have been the same in any other language but French.

The comedy of the film is of a more subtle nature, though elements of slapstick show up from time to time. That is, assuming that bikes being run into the slough alongside the pathway is funny. Though i have never read the Misanthrope, it wasn't long before the parallel between the characters of the film and those whose lines they were reading in the theatrical comedy, were made clear. 

The bike scenes flow through as transitions, the rides are where problems are solved, or resolved however temporary. Only the last ride of the film has an air of finality. But the promise of a bike scene or two, made hopefully evident by the photo on the dvd cover, won't be the reason you pick this one off the shelf, or the Netflix list. No, pick this one out to impress your favorite lady, or your favorite guy, if you happen to be a redneck-type gal with an intellectual other. Unlike the films i usually choose, this is no dumbed-down shoot-em up, you have to pay attention and use your head. "I have the defect of being more sincere than persons wish."

It is in French, with subtitles, so put it on when you want to relax, and have nothing more important to do, for an hour and three-quarters. 

Comments

  1. I just saw this movie a few nights ago. Lambert Wilson looks even better now that he's older.

    I didn't catch the parallel between the characters in the play and the two men rehearsing the play. Not until i looked up the meaning of "misanthrope." About 5 years ago, another film came out called "Moliere". Nothing to do with bikes but a really good movie (à la Shakespeare In Love). It actually prompted me to try reading Moliere, which is not easy.

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    1. Whether due to the vernacular or the philosophical nature of the story I probably wouldn't fare that well with the book but, now that you mention it, I want to give it a try.

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