Scen.: Jean-Loup Dabadie, Claude Sautet, Claude Néron. F.: Jean Boffety. M.: Jacqueline Thiédot. Scgf.: Pierre Guffroy. Mus.: Philippe Sarde. Int.: Yves Montand (César), Romy Schneider (Rosalie), Sami Frey (David), Umberto Orsini (Antoine), Bernard Le Coq (Michel), Eva Maria Meinecke (Lucie, la madre di Rosalie), Isabelle Huppert (Marité), Henri-Jacques Huet (Marcel), Pippo Merisi (Albert). Prod.: Michelle de Broca per Fildebroc Productions, Mega Film, Paramount – Orion Filmproduktion. DCP. Col.
That secret palpitation of reality, unhindered by any anecdotal context. Very few filmmakers, to my mind, have been crazy enough to try to replicate its dim murmur. Cinema today, in particular, preoccupied with shallow external influences, neglects this mode of inquiry. It is too interested in the noise outside to consider exploring the silence within. Claude Sautet is one of those very rare people who has ventured into this difficult area. He has learnt lessons from Renoir, Becker, and others, proving that what counts for a film director, beyond the chosen subject, ideally a banal and current theme, is to capture that murmur, that syncopation, those intimate schisms that define the human condition. César et Rosalie, more than any of his other films, seems to exude, from this point of view, the most intense and genuine emotion. The poignancy of the work goes beyond pathos and broods to the end beneath the ashes of the quotidian. Small accumulated gestures make up a singularly harmonious and coherent whole; everything is expressed in lightening sensations, in elusive flashes, in muted chaos. Laughter constantly rubs shoulders with tears, it’s a ‘happy tragedy’, the stuff of Renoir’s dreams … What we take from a film like this is first of all, charm, emotion, rhythm. Nervous rhythm, breathless, almost unsustainable at times, which gives César et Rosalie the allure of an obstacle course, of an electrocardiogram going off the scale … This emotion is what I perceive on Romy Schneider’s face, surprised as she bathes, at once happy and annoyed by César’s abrupt intrusion; and I perceive it in the way he chews on his cigar; and also in David’s impenetrable smile, shot in the background, culminating in a heartrending climax.
Claude Beyle, “Écran 72”, n. 10, December 1972
Claude Sautet and I have a professional love story, which is quite rare. There is total mutual trust between us, and ever since Les Choses de la vie we keep demanding more from each other. Something powerful happens without words: moments when our eyes meet, when I know what he wants and I give it to him. I have worked with really great directors, but with him the trust and things in life we share are deeper.
Romy Schneider, interviewed by Marhieu Lindon, “Le Nouvel Observateur”, 20 November 1972