Saturday, 26 July 2008

And hope to die

La Course du lièvre à travers les champs
I remember a new boy in a small town trying to make friends. There was a bag of marbles at the beginning, the contents of which roll down some cobbled streets at the end. In between there was a fantastical tale of gangs, robbery and the use of a fire engine ladder to crawl from one high rise building to the next. I have a vague recollection of an American actor in this French film, a love triangle and, like so many good stories, a little sadness at its end.

However I couldn't remember what it was called. I was only around ten years old at the time but for some reason those images have stayed with me for the last 30 years. A few months ago, after having previously searched for the title several times, I found the answer by accident.

La Course du lièvre à travers les champs or, to give it it's English title, And Hope To Die, was made in 1972 and features a screenplay written by Sébastien Japrisot. I note this as he later wrote the novel A Very Long Engagement, subsequently made into a French film that also happened to cameo a well known American actress, Jodie Foster. Two films made 30 years apart, with the same writer (albeit in a different role), each featuring a well known American actor... and I like them both.

At least I think I do. For whilst I saw A Very Long Engagement only a year ago, the memories I have of it's counterpart are fragmented, perhaps even warped over the course of time. And Hope To Die is available on DVD but not, it would appear, with English subtitles. Perhaps this is just as well, though it does sound like the kind of movie I would love to see. I know in my heart if this film was more generally available I would snap it up. Revisiting the past is always a risky venture, and often ends in disappointment, but even a remote chance of re-capturing that childhood magic, if only for a short time, has got to be worth it.


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