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VALPARAISO VALPARAISO

France, 1971 (MIFF 1972)

Director: Pascal Aubier

The bete-noire of current revolutionaries has become not so much the conservative or the reactionary, but the liberal—in particular the academic intellectual who appears only to be paying lip service to his professed liberal principles.

The film is alternatively a put-down of idealistic left-wing revolutionary aspirants, and a satire on how a writer discovers life.

A rather pompous intellectual, who has long written about general liberal attitudes, meets up with a wild young activist girl, who introduces him to a kind of Maoisl-cum-Marxist-Leninist underground movement. He falls for her, and she leads him on as the group set out to test his actual commitment. The challenge turns him into a man of action for the cause, but still as bumbling and inefficient as he was during his more pedantic days of just thinking about ideals.

Without making a pitch for any revolutionary theory, the film points to the comic implications so often overlooked in these situations.

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