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Quiet Days in Clichy

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Quiet Days in Clichy from 1970 is an enigmatic film that delves into the vibrancy and volatility of Bohemian life in the mid-20th century. Directed by Jens Jørgen Thorsen, the movie is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by renowned existentialist writer, Henry Miller. The film consists of a series of vignettes that tell the story of an American writer in Paris, portrayed by Paul Valjean, and his friend, portrayed by Wayne Rodda. While not a typical narrative style, this mosaic of experiences offers a rich exploration of the Bohemian lifestyle these characters immerse themselves in.

Set in the sometimes glamorous, sometimes seedy world of 1920s Paris, Joel (Valjean) acts as our guide to this Bohemian universe replete with sexual freedom, absinthe-soaked nights, and a relentless search for artistic truth. A struggling writer, Joel embraces the non-conformity of his environment, stretching his limits as he explores the fundamental philosophical and perennial questions about life, love, sex, art, and existence.

Joel's orbit within this world is primarily connected to an aspiring photographer, Carl (Rodda). Together, they navigate the challenging spectrum of exhilaration and disillusionment, which appears to come in almost equal measure in their lives. While Joel is an idealist searching for depth in his experiences, Carl is more of a nihilist, seeking solace in the hedonistic pleasures of life. The interplay between these two extreme philosophical approaches adds nuanced tension to their relationship.

The women in the plot, notably Colette (Koppel), are no mere appendages to this princely duo but subtly drawn characters with zero commitment to conventionality. Alluring and elusive, they form a dazzling galaxy that orbits around the male leads, pitching a pitched struggle between love and sex, possession and freedom.

Quiet Days in Clichy captivates its audience with a raw and very realistic portrayal of post-War Paris, riveting because of its blatant honesty and explicit detail. Despite dealing with resonant themes like hedonism, freedom, sex, and art, the film doesn't necessarily glamorize the Bohemian lifestyle, but rather presents it as it was — a mixture of luxury and depravity, turbulence and tranquility.

The film’s cinematography is unique, boasting rich, vivid imagery contrasting the faded elegance of Paris with the pulsating drama of the libertine existences the characters lead. It is a visual accompaniment to the vibrant, earthy, and often graphic narrative unfolding on the screen, and it succeeds in capturing the spirit and the zeitgeist of the times, contributing significantly to the atmospheric allure of the film.

Further, one cannot ignore the significance of the soundtrack in this film. An atmospheric collage of jazz and classical music, it echoes the chaotic and unstable lives of the characters. It forms an essential narrative device, setting the mood and underscoring key moments, enhancing the overall cinematic experience for the viewer.

A masterpiece of its genre, Quiet Days in Clichy is an experience that stays with the viewer long after the credits roll. The film doesn't shy away from sensitive or taboo subjects, and its candid, unembellished portrayal of life in all its complexity is both its most attractive and potentially off-putting feature. The characters are relatably flawed, their journeys engrossing, and their world a snapshot of a time in history where freedom and artistic pursuit often blurred into a descent into excess and despair.

Quiet Days in Clichy is an honest, unapologetic peek into human existence's wild and unpredictable side. Its candid exploration of love, lust, art, and life stands testament to the courage of both director and actors in pushing creative boundaries to narrate a story that is as challenging as it is captivating. For audiences willing to embrace its visceral honesty, it offers a rare and rewarding cinematic experience, a tribute to a specific era in history that continues to inspire the imagination, even decades later.

Quiet Days in Clichy is a Comedy, Drama movie released in 1970. It has a runtime of 91 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.1..

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Where can I stream Quiet Days in Clichy movie online? Quiet Days in Clichy is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Tubi TV, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent Quiet Days in Clichy for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Jens Jorgen Thorsen
Paul Valjean, Wayne Rodda, Ulla Koppel
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