The Suitor (Le Soupirant)
Dir: Pierre Étaix
Scrs: Pierre Étaix, Jean-Claude Carrière
Cast: Pierre Étaix, Karin Vesely, Claude Massot
1963 / France / B&W / 35mm / French / Eng Subtitles / 83min
The Suitor is a perfect introduction to Pierre Étaix. It’s the story of a 34-year-old man who, inexperienced in love and urged by his parents to get married, sets out to find a wife. He wanders the streets of Paris like a confused Martian, observing the seduction techniques of others before applying them himself - with hilarious results. As the first, most commercially successful of four feature comedies co-written with Jean-Claude Carrière, it looks increasingly like what it was, a first step in the ascent of a great comic. It immediately placed Étaix in that small group of masters who direct, star in and script their own films, from fellow Frenchman Max Linder through Charles Chaplin, Jacques Tati and beyond.
In what is surely a film “first”, a film author’s near “complete works” (8 films including The Suitor and 4 other features, omitting only a couple of shorts) have been restored for immediate commercial re-release, and for preserving national film heritage. The restoration, overseen by two French film foundations, Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage and Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema, involved both photochemical and digital treatments and was conducted under the supervision of Étaix himself.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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