By Bill Marshall
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Additional info for André Téchiné
This is perhaps another way of expressing the tension between an address to avant-garde or commercial cinema audiences. This ambivalence extends to the ﬁlm’s treatment of romance. On the one hand, the romance narrative which Laure wishes to create with Samson’s killer is an empty copy, a simulacrum, and just part of the general alienation in the ﬁlm. Her decision to ‘remake’ Samson is prompted by her experience at the restaurant with Walt and Antoinette, not only by their discussion of the departing liner, but by a performance of a romantic song, ‘On se voit se voir’, by a cabaret singer (the uncredited torch singer Marie-France).
Indeed, one of the obstacles – essential for generating narrative – between Gilles and Hélène will be that of social class: she is a professional (working as an anaesthetist at the local hospital), he is much more of a drifter, having recently returned from New York with his friend Bernard (Etienne Chicot), and getting by on work as a tourist guide. His mother (Frédérique Ruchaud) manages the small tourist hotel near the railway tracks that gives the ﬁlm its name. Audience narrative expectation is also aroused in these opening sequences in relation to genre, most notably the question, in what genre can this ﬁlm be placed?
She has to be an agent of identity switch one more time – the mistaken identity that kills Walt – before melting into the crowd of passengers on the ship (the interior of which is never glimpsed). In an interview in 1977, Téchiné invokes the baroque painting, Rubens’ Exchange of Princesses (1621–25), in which one ﬁgure is becoming the copy of the other (Frenais 1977). Téchiné in fact got the title of his ﬁlm from the work by Severo Sarduy, the Cuban poet and cultural theorist exiled in Paris and close to Roland Barthes and the Tel Quel group.
André Téchiné by Bill Marshall