À LEUR ÂGE
Zazie is a girl after my own heart- she pulls the strings of her facial muscles in such a way that your face splits open into guffaws and gummy grins. She is reckless, wild, and she'll kick you in the shins even if you didn't have it coming. Though, I'm sure you did.
Years lapsed in thick folds before I rediscovered Raymond Queneau's delightful tale, this time under Louis Malle's tutelage one bright and early Saturday morning in kaleidoscope-bright 35mm. I had pinky-promised myself one afternoon that I would attempt to see every film by Louis that I could (except that one time I fell in and out of sleep during Calcutta, despite my vested interest). I was hopelessly devoted to Louis from the beginning of the series and tried earnestly (and with varying degrees of success) to wrangle my pals together to wake up early for eleven o'clock movies. For Bergman, it was easy peasy. For Kenji Mizoguchi, a bit more difficult, but managed nonetheless. For Zazie dans le Metro, impossible! A baffling loss indeed for those friends that chose to sleep in!
I have read François T.'s Films in My Life so many times I could recite it backwards or read it cross-eyed; it's gotten to the point that I refer to my favorite movies as the "films in my life." A slightly ridiculous but entirely useful adage (though uttering "God bless John Ford" repeatedly is, perhaps, just a tad sillier). Truffaut obsession aside, Zazie truly ought to be the example cited for Merriam-Webster's definition of "delightful." I often heartily enjoy films, but I seldom wish to crawl through the screen just to eat buckets of clams with a saucy twelve-year-old! I've been crossing my fingers for the past two years that Criterion would package and distribute this gem (considering they have been awfully kind to Malle), but this film remains wedged in veiled obscurity. It's a damn shame!
Trust me, if I had access to all the film prints a girl could dream of, I'd be watching a double feature of Zazie and Monsieur Hulot's Holiday all day, every day, on loop. Or at least until someone had to be rushed to the hospital because they almost died laughing!