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THE VALLEY

France, 1972 (MIFF 1973)

Director: Barbet Schroeder

Directed by Barbet Schroeder, photographed by the brilliant Cuban, Nestor Almendros, and scored by American underground rock group, Pink Floyd, La vallee follows the experiences of a young woman discovering a new world in the wilds of New Guinea.

Viviane, the wife of the French Consul-General in Melbourne, is holidaying in New Guinea. In Lae she meets Oliver, a young Australian, who is part of an expedition, led by Cretan, a Frenchman with 'modern' ideas, in search of a legendary lost valley. Attracted to Oliver and to the idea of the adventure, Viviane joins the party and discovers that all is not as she had anticipated. She begins to behave in a way quite alien to her middle-class background and she discovers that Oliver is not the person she had thought him. Her attentions turn to Gretan as they arrive at a village and join the tribe in performing the customary rituals. When they leave and head off further into the wilderness, it soon becomes clear that there is no turning back.

Schroeder refuses to pursue the narrative beyond the structure already outlined and instead journeys into the strange contacts between cultures.

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