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Murmur of the Heart (2d, Le Souffle au Coeur)

Director(s): Louis Malle

Theatrical Release: 1971

Cast: Lea Massari, Daniel Gelin, Benoit Ferreux, Marc Wincourt, Fabien Ferreux, Liliane Sorval

Genre(s): Comedy, coming-of-age, period piece, Criterion Collection, Dean's List

Countries: France, Italy, Germany (East/West)

Location in store:

(0 / 0)
Ant Rating
Running Time: 118m.

Told with fondness and precision, and set in France at the time of the IndoChina War (which later became an American problem known as the Vietnam War), this controversial feature handles teen coming-of-age, sexuality and even incest with a gentleness that disappointed the prurient and shocked the conservative. This is one of director Louis Malle's finest films: others include The Fire Within and Au Revoir Les Enfants. Laurent (Benoit Ferreux) is 14 years old and anxious to lose his virginity. However, he has a very close family circle, and, between the family and school, he is too closely watched to get anywhere. He makes the most of an opportunity to neck with the girls at his older brothers' party and later almost gets to lose his virginity in a bordello, but his boisterously drunken brothers interrupt him. His real opportunity arises while his mother takes him for a rest-cure for his heart murmur at a very conventional spa. -- Clarke Fountain (


Criterion Collection DVD #328 Special Features:

+ New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich

+ Original theatrical trailer

+ A new essay by film critic Michael Sragow

+ New and improved English subtitle translation


+ New interviews with actor Candice Bergen and biographer Pierre Billard

+ Excerpts from a French TV program featuring the director on the sets of Murmur of the Heart and Lacombe, Lucien

+ Audio interviews with Louis Malle from 1974, 1988, and 1990

+ "The Immigrant" - Charlie Chaplin's 1917 short comedy, featured in Au Revoir Les Enfants

+ A profile of the provocative character of Joseph from Au Revoir Les Enfants, created by filmmaker Guy Magen, in 2005