Brief Re-Encounters


Seattle Art Museum, 7 p.m. Fri., Feb. 14

How many times does Danielle Darrieux faint in this movie? Any time Max Ophls needs to add a little dramatic urgency to his 1953 tale of doomed romance—and, believe me, it needs plenty—Darrieux conveniently keels over. In early 19th-century Paris, she plays an idle, flirtatious countess unhappily married to Charles Boyer (go figure). Naturally, she falls for a handsome Italian diplomat (the great neorealist director Vittorio De Sica), and there are these damn earrings that link everyone together. There will be a discussion after this Valentine’s Day screening, where Topic A should be: How can Darrieux’s character be so stupid?!? Earrings is hardly a terrible movie (its technical qualities and long dolly shots are too remarkable for that), but it locks sexual passion in period amber—meaning you never believe in the countess’ ardor. Nobody ever takes off their white gloves long enough to have sex, let alone touch. “What are you suffering from?” Boyer asks Darrieux. “Humiliation,” she replies. Not enough. (NR) BRIAN MILLER


Seattle Art Museum, 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 13

Think your relationship is on the skids? This 1953 marital drama from Roberto Rossellini (part of SAM’s Italian film series) just might give you some hope. Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders (All About Eve) play uptight, rich Brits visiting Naples to sell an inherited villa. Both start out contemptuous of Italy’s unfamiliar clamor—”What noisy people. I’ve never seen noise and boredom go so well together,” sneers Sanders. But their contempt is mostly the displaced hostility of a couple that has stopped communicating. Sanders flirts with some Italian beauties while Bergman takes some rather dull tourist excursions. Meanwhile, readers of Under the Tuscan Sun will be screaming, “For god’s sake, don’t sell the villa!” (It’s fabulous, with sweeping views of Capri, Vesuvius, and Pompei.) By the time the pair visits the famous ruins, where corpses lie twisted in eternal embrace, their talk of divorce is hushed by an ancient, mortal rebuke. (NR) B.R.M.