Three Rooms in Manhattan

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  • 1965
  • 6.5  (534)

Three Rooms in Manhattan is a 1965 French film directed by Marcel Carné based on the novel by Henri-François Rey. The film stars Annie Girardot, Maurice Ronet, and O.E. Hasse. The story takes place in New York City, where a French actor named François Comte (Maurice Ronet) has just arrived to seek work and get his life back on track. He meets an emotionally damaged French woman named Kay (Annie Girardot) in a bar, and the two soon become romantically involved. François wants to help Kay deal with her demons, but finds that the relationship is complicated by the fact that Kay has a young daughter and a troubled ex-husband.

The movie is a character study of two lonely people, both of whom are struggling to overcome their pasts and find some measure of happiness in the present. François is trying to forget an unhappy love affair, while Kay is haunted by the memory of her husband and the guilt she feels about her daughter's welfare. As they spend time together in François's small, cramped apartment, they begin to connect on a deeper level, sharing stories, fears, hopes, and dreams.

Throughout the film, François and Kay are shown in various states of emotional distress, alternating between moments of passion and despair. François has occasional lapses into alcoholism, while Kay is prone to anxiety attacks and emotional breakdowns. They both seem to be searching for something they cannot name – perhaps love, perhaps a sense of purpose, perhaps just a reason to keep going.

The movie is shot in black and white, with moody, atmospheric cinematography that captures the isolation and alienation that the characters feel in a big, bustling city. The soundtrack features jazz music, giving the movie a distinctly New York flavor.

The film is notable for its extended dialogue scenes, as the two protagonists spend long periods of time talking to each other about their pasts, their feelings, and their hopes. These conversations are often awkward and uncomfortable, as both characters struggle to express themselves effectively. However, they are also deeply affecting, as François and Kay reveal more and more about themselves to each other.

Despite its focus on two central characters, Three Rooms in Manhattan also features a well-drawn supporting cast, including Kay's ex-husband (played by O.E. Hasse), who is a tortured artist and a source of constant anxiety for Kay. There is also a memorable scene involving a kindly bartender who helps François when he is at his lowest ebb.

Overall, Three Rooms in Manhattan is a moving, melancholic film that explores themes of love, loss, and loneliness in a sophisticated and intelligent way. The movie is slow-paced and introspective, but rewards patient viewers with complex characters and heartfelt emotion.

Three Rooms in Manhattan
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    6.5  (534)