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Rapture (1965)

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Rapture (1965)

#1

Post by joachimt » March 6th, 2016, 9:00 pm

Film of the Week #114: Rapture (1965)

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Summary:
Rapture is a dark fairy tale: set against the rugged beauty of the Brittany seacoast, it tells the story of a young girl (Patricia Gozzi) whose lonely isolation under the watchful eye of her stern and bitter father (Melvyn Douglas) is abruptly shattered by the arrival of a seductive fugitive from the law (Dean Stockwell). With stunning CinemaScope images from director John Guillermin and cinematographer Marcel Grignon, this tumultuous coming-of-age fable also features a deliriously romantic score by Georges Delerue, available here as an isolated track.

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#117 on 500<400, with 52 checks.
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#117 (+565, #682) Rapture (1965, John Guillermin), 580.08 points, 10 votes (IMDb)
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#2

Post by Carmel1379 » March 6th, 2016, 10:08 pm

One of the best films. I've seen it twice, for the first time on my birthday in 2014 and a second time 3 days before my birthday in 2015. A cinematheque is screening it in 21 days as part of a "In Memoriam 2015" program, I don't know if I'll see it, I might.

I dug my write-up after my second viewing up from some finish-semi-imdb-user-board-profile-archive(?) site:
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
Rapture (1965, John Guillermin)
2nd viewing

spoilers

Agnes is an amiable, light-hearted, crazy, childish-monster girl who is susceptible to effects of the collective irritating - the whispers, the looks, unwanted touches and so on, all of that culminates causing occasional unstable/disturbed states of mind (even a suicide attempt), which is why her father, sister, doctors and Karin(?) think she might have mental disorders and so on, meaning she has to be hospitalised. She has periods of instability and behaves erratically and fairly childish for her age, but by no means the viewer is lead to believe "she's mad", quite the contrary, the film raises questions (through Josef's opinions and us actually seeing Agnes) relating to sanity/insanity, psychological health/sickness and how it is differently manifested in someone's behaviour at distinct points in time.

I think that Agnes is mainly a character struck my pervading loneliness. That's why she refugees to an imagination sphere, exploration and feelings through nature - the sun makes her warm in cold classrooms with boring teachers, seagulls bring her joy as she runs on beautiful cliffs next to a likewise magnificent sea, and she plays with a doll. We also know that she somewhat desires to be like her mother who loved Agnes, which means she also attempts to find a certain way to accept herself, find an identity with which she could continue living, because she is quite alone.
Her only ok relationship with another person is Karen, but even that is based on tricks and dishonesties, and as we know, it doesn't really end well. Her father has complexes of his own, and resents his daughter for reminding him of his beloved wife who cheated on him and didn't love him; his firm character therefore requires denial (the mother and daughter are nothing alike), self-abasement (guilt for attempting to kill the other man), strict measures and engaging his intellect into a project (which is not successful at all, and he rejects it himself in his last talk with Josef, asserting humanity is and law is relativistic. Then he was abandoned and left to depression and alcohol, but the end of the film definitely promises the restoration of a good relationship with his daughter and so on).

Agnes grows up of course, she cannot remain a child forever. Some idiot tries to kiss her and "show her how to dance" at her sister's wedding, she hears Karen having sex every night and so on. All that messes her up even more - it's part of the collective irritating. But she has an ambivalent attitude towards sexuality. She shows keen interest in Karen's activities at night, but closes her ears while it's actually taking place. The world is foreign to her, she is not ready yet. So why not create something of herself? Something which would keep her company as well as initiate her sexuality and growth.
That's how elle invente un double. A male counterpart, which is for the moment only a scarecrow. "You're mine. I made you.". Soon Josef intrudes the house on a stormy night and she projects her wishes unto him (I'm not getting into the whether "she actually thought he was a scarecrow" or just joking, since that's not the issue really, and there is no definite answer). He is someone special. "I've never told that to anyone before. You see how much I need you."
Josef is a character entirely on his own, but eventually the film becomes a great (impossible, unsustainable) romance.
(...)

The cinematography is excellent and I disagree with some here that "it has a slow pacing". For me every scene is dynamic revealing newer states of and tensions between the great great characters, forming a complexity, enjoyable to intuit and reason. 'Rapture' is a whole, a delight, a rapture, an obscure feeling on its own, a simpler film about exploration and a masterpiece.

9/10
which was written at night, which is the reason why there is a Freudian slip spotted by PdA* somewhere in there.
*who recommend the film to FG/the universe in the first place.
Last edited by Carmel1379 on March 6th, 2016, 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#3

Post by jvv » March 6th, 2016, 10:18 pm

Whenever I see Dean Stockwell I'm immediately reminded of Quantum Leap. :shrug:

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#4

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » March 8th, 2016, 2:05 pm

review
'Rapture' is a coming-of-age tale, a dark Gothic fantasy, a romance, and a few other things. Its ability to stay clear from clichés despite the familiar dramatic framework alone is astonishing, which makes the film ultimately pretty uncategorizable, not to say anything about how sensible and dare I say perfect everything else is about this relatively layered production that feels grounded in realism while often being quite magical thanks partly due to the script, and partly due to its beautiful dreamy score and arresting as well as intelligent compositions of its CinemaScope black and white cinematography.

Its nationality isn't easily identifiable either. The spoken language is English, the writer of the source novel is British, as is the director, but he was born to French parents, the film (unlike the novel) is set in France and most of the crew is French, as is the main actress. Its overall feel is predominantly French but it definitely also has British and American touches and there's something Bergmanesque about it as well as it often plays like a chamber psychodrama and with Bergman regular Gunnel Lindblom in the cast providing a direct link to the Swedish auteur. Speaking of actors, although without big stars the main players are all recognizable faces who fit their roles excellently and all of which give very good performances with the memorable standout being French actress Patricia Gozzi as the young girl, she bowed out of acting only a few years later but if you happen to have seen 'Sundays and Cybele' you certainly will remember her from that movie.

There are many films I could compare it to, but no comparison would be exhaustive. The enigmatic stranger who enters a family with each person projecting their own desires onto him and them essentially creating their own image of the man is an important element in the film that recalls Pasolini's 'Teorema'. Then there's an impressive section later in the film in which the girl finds herself in Paris for the first time and she is completely overwhelmed by her surroundings and the situation in general, which has something of the same year's 'Repulsion'. In fact I think I saw Catherine Deneuve nervously rubbing her little nose in the background in one of the shots...OK, I didn't. Anyway, those comparisons are just scratching the surface.

I'm not really sure to whom I would recommend 'Rapture', but if my genre description made it sound like your kind of thing you may want to look into it. Especially if you loved Chan-wook Park's 'Stoker', I think there are a few similarities between them with a general oddness that is not only captivating with a complex web of character relationships but also feels perfectly natural to the material, in particular thanks to its mentally troubled young protagonist on the brink of sexual awakening who is like a warmer but also more visibly unhinged version of India Stoker with the actress very much having the same strange appeal as Mia Wasikowska as well as the acting chops to go with it.

Although understandably not the kind of film with a huge mainstream appeal 'Rapture' apparently never even saw all that much of a release back in the 60's. The handful of reviews that I found (all written within the past few years) amazingly enough are unanimously very positive, which strengthens me in my belief that this is a gem still waiting to be discovered by a much wider audience.*

*Which hasn't happened, unfortunately.

a 'Stoker' comparison
I think that like 'Stoker' it often leaves it to the viewer to figure out what exactly motives the characters to do the things they do. It's not something that gets in the way of the viewing pleasure (not for me anyway), but even though I personally actually found all the character behaviors reasonable, I think one has to reexamine the film and put the various pieces together if one has hopes to gain a deep understanding of the characters. The ending doesn't have a plot twist or anything but in a rather simple way it adds a little something that provokes one to rethink what went on in the girl's mind throughout the film.

themes
Thematically I'd say it's actually a very complex examination of sanity/insanity. Is the girl's often erratic behavior simply the result of insanity? She's a teenager with raging teenage hormones living under the rule of an oppressive father who gives her mixed messages, he forbids her to play with dolls because she's not a child anymore, but at the same time he forbids her to do any "grown up" things. Furthermore he tells her that she isn't right in the head (which she seems to believe at least some of the time) and threatens to put her in an asylum if she doesn't behave. How much of her behavior is due to her buying into what her father and other people think her to be, how much is it her just being a difficult teenager, and how much is it her really being a bit mental? And this doesn't even address the issue of possible traumas she experienced in the past. To complicate things further she is very much like a child in some ways while apparently being quite mature in others. If she has an imaginary friend is it proof that she is cuckoo or is this something harmless and (somewhat) normal in her childish ways? And how much does she really buy into her fantasies, and how much is it just her pretending? I don't know how psychologically sound that character is in reality but I think this isn't the point of the film at all, like in Lynch's films it isn't about the mental disorder itself, it's just a tool that opens up new perspectives and possibilities.

'Rapture' doesn't revolve around the question "Is she mad or not?" nearly as much as I made it sound like now, but that question and its ramifications certainly are an intriguing aspect that keep the film fascinating beyond its many immediate pleasures. There's also the theme of objectifying people, seeing them as one wants them to be rather than as the person that they actually are and recognizing that he or she also has needs of his/her own. This concerns (unconsciously) using people for ones own benefit, to selfishly satisfy ones own needs, but it also concerns love where one person loves another not for who they are but for all the hopes and whatnot that one projects onto the beloved one. This theme, ironically, is mostly explored or at least brought to the viewer's attention by showing the characters doing the exact opposite, which is to infuse objects with life, treating them like people (cue for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikh34ejKRDQ).

a description good for overselling the film
Like I said, I find it difficult to think of one film that would be all that similar. I got quite a bit of a Southern gothic vibe from it with the summery country setting and the dysfunctional family living pretty isolated from the rest of the community. So maybe we have a bit of 'Baby Doll' and 'Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte' there too. Having read a lot of reviews I have seen it compared to dozens of films, many of which seem reasonable enough. Some of the more reasonable comparisons were 'Night of the Hunter', 'The 400 Blows', 'The Cranes Are Flying', 'The Spirit of the Beehive', 'The Double Life of Veronique', Bergman, early Polanski, and its general feel has been likened to 'The Innocents' (which seems fair, from what I remember).

Also this: >With a mise-en-scène sourced from an offbeat combination of the influence of 19th century English literature and the French New Wave cinema of the 1960s, retrospectively this plays like an utterly original Guillermo del Toro-esque coming-of-age drama couched in the wild, romantic world of the Bronte sisters or Daphne du Maurier, but cinematically drawing on both the touching magical fairy tale-tinged lyricism of Val Lewton’s evocation of childhood trauma in “The Curse of the Cat People”(1944) and Bergman’s study of tortured adolescence and mental illness, solitude and patriarchal miscommunication essayed during his stark 1961 chamber piece “Through a Glass Darkly” … mixed with a dash of Bryan Forbes’ “Whistle Down the Wind”.

a little character description of protagonist Agnes
I think she is very sympathetic and relatable enough despite the occasional erratic behavior, she isn't malicious or anything, just troubled. She's a good-hearted, nature-loving child with an active imagination in ways that often seem odd to outsiders. She's a loner but she loves and is comfortable with the young housemaid who could just as well be her older sister. She's a romantic and is ready to meet her prince who will take her away and, like, show her things and stuff.

on the source novel
I found the screenplay quite notable and clever, the way it doesn't follow the usual templates and the storytelling still works. But I can also imagine that much of it is down to an intelligent execution. Interestingly the novel has a completely different last third, which actually seems to be a lot more dramatic, so you would think they would have used it for the movie also. I quote from a book review
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
(this would be before the whole "living in Paris" part which doesn't seem to be in the book): >...finally, she [Agnes] kills her father, to save herself for her man, to save him. At the end, in a simple acceptance of the inevitable, he goes to give himself up, to shoulder her guilt. She learns she is carrying his child- and follows him.<
I can see this ending working but I think I much prefer the more down-to-earth ending of the film. I also like that it doesn't have this "love conquers all" notion and that the father gets a chance to redeem himself, he could have easily been just a villain in the story but instead he is his own complex, troubled character and deserves to be treated as more than just a figure to drive the plot along.
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#5

Post by joachimt » March 8th, 2016, 2:06 pm

Carmel, Perception and I agree on this movie. We were the three #1-votes in the 500<400 poll. I hope we can find some more lovers now, so we can get this movie into the 50.
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#6

Post by Nathan Treadway » March 9th, 2016, 6:43 am

joachimt on Mar 8 2016, 07:06:33 AM wrote:Carmel, Perception and I agree on this movie. We were the three #1-votes in the 500<400 poll. I hope we can find some more lovers now, so we can get this movie into the 50.
...And that you did! My God, what a beautiful film. I don't know if it'll be my #1 on the 500<400, but, it's definitely top 5.
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“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40)

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#7

Post by joachimt » March 9th, 2016, 7:52 am

treadwaynathan on Mar 8 2016, 11:43:18 PM wrote:
joachimt on Mar 8 2016, 07:06:33 AM wrote:Carmel, Perception and I agree on this movie. We were the three #1-votes in the 500<400 poll. I hope we can find some more lovers now, so we can get this movie into the 50.
...And that you did! My God, what a beautiful film. I don't know if it'll be my #1 on the 500<400, but, it's definitely top 5.
:clap:
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#8

Post by Limedebois » March 9th, 2016, 11:40 am

The handful of reviews that I found (all written within the past few years) amazingly enough are unanimously very positive
I also watched the film thanks to the recommendation on the forum; my review was "positive", not very positive, though. The story wasn't at the same level than all technical aspects.

Personal lists:

&#10004;Limguela top films

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Rating : 8+

Seen 13 /07/ 2014

Only for de français lecteurs.

Un dimanche en Bretagne

John Guillermin doit avoir été plutôt impressionné par Les Dimanches de Ville-d’Avray. On y retrouve d’abord Patricia Gozzi, l’histoire est à quelques détails près la même (un jeune adulte et une mineure qui se rencontrent, tombent amoureux, mais ça donne le vertige et la chute est douloureuse), et l’esthétique (« l’art design », pour faire mon malin avec un roast-beef dans la bouche), assez singulière (poétique, mélancolique, lente, lourde, douce-amère), là encore est très similaire. Je ne vais pas fouiller dans l’équipe technique (le film, bien qu’en anglais, a été tourné en France avec des équipes techniques françaises), mais la référence, ou l’influence, est évidente.

Le film n’est pas loin de la perfection. Seule l’histoire pioche un peu, surtout sur la fin. Au niveau du casting, de la mise en scène et de tout l’aspect technique, c’est un bijou. Patricia Gozzi prouve ici que non seulement sa performance dans les Dimanches n’était pas due à son jeune âge quand tout le mérite finalement revient au metteur-en-scène capable de dresser des enfants comme des petits chiens, mais en plus, et donc avec quelques années de plus, elle reproduit sur le spectateur la même fascination… en anglais ! Sens du rythme, imagination, sensibilité contenue et contrôlée… C’était un monstre génial cette petite, c’est à se demander pourquoi elle n’a pas continué. Et le père Guillermin prouve lui aussi que ses choix de casting ne sortent pas de nulle part. Melvyn Douglas, une évidence, il y aurait eu sans doute d’autres acteurs de son âge, confirmés, ayant fait l’affaire. Mais Dean Stockwell ? Lui aussi était une enfant star (il a été notamment le Garçon aux cheveux verts, de Losey), mais surtout je me rappelle de lui dans Long Voyage vers la nuit, là encore comme les Dimanches, tourné en 1962. Maîtrise totale de son art. Les mêmes qualités que Patricia Gozzi. Il fallait avoir l’idée de les réunir ces deux-là…

L’autre aspect le plus impressionnant, c’est le travail avec la caméra et l’habilité du montage, du son, à créer en permanence du rythme en alternant les effets : les scènes montent lentement vers un climax, parfois sonore, puis ça explose tout à coup, pour redescendre en gardant la tension provoquée par ce qui précède. C’est du théâtre. L’art de la mise en scène au théâtre (quand les pièces le permettent mais c’est très souvent le cas), c’est justement de créer cette alternance, cette respiration, sinon tout est au même rythme, sur le même ton, et on s’ennuie. Au niveau du travail de caméra, c’est un chef d’œuvre de mise en place, de cadrage, de recadrage, d’ajustement, de choix de focale, de construction du plan en captant bien comme il faut le moindre détail du décor qui donnera l’impression que tout est à sa place. Les personnages bougent, la caméra bouge avec eux, pivote, tout ça avec fluidité, le but est de ne pas voir tous ces effets. Un personnage sort du cadre, on rééquilibre le cadre en fonction. Toutes les trois secondes, c’est un nouveau plan qui se compose sous nos yeux, parfois même à l’intérieur du même plan, parce que la caméra bouge, les personnages bougent. Tout est réglé comme du papier à musique. Et c’est de la musique. Rien ne dépasse. Harmonie parfaite et technique mise au service d’une ambiance.

Dommage donc que l’histoire ne vaille pas grand chose. Le potentiel est là puisqu’on n’est donc pas loin des Dimanches. Mais l’exécution surtout à la fin n’est pas convaincante. La folie d’Agnès semble un peu forcée, elle apparaît ou se manifeste quand ça arrange l’histoire, et disparaît aussitôt après. Quant à Jospeh, il hésite d’abord entre les deux sœurs puis le choix se fait trop facilement après que son départ a échoué. Dans les Dimanches, on pouvait croire à un amour platonique entre les deux personnages que tout oppose en dehors de leur solitude, mais leur intérêt mutuel prend sens parce que chaque scène sert à répéter cette même situation centrée sur leur relation qui évolue sur un attachement toujours plus grand. Ici, l’histoire est trop parasitée par des personnages certes nécessaires, mais des enjeux qui eux ne le sont pas : la folie, le choix entre les deux sœurs, la recherche de la gendarmerie, l’amour de la mère disparue, cette étrange fuite finale qui se finit en échec… Il y a trop de matière et ne donne pas le temps de nous attacher comme on le devrait, ou à croire, à cet amour, et même si la mise en scène fait tout pour faire renaître cette magie… D’un potentiel 10, ça tombe à un 8+ à cause de l’histoire.

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#9

Post by Fergenaprido » March 11th, 2016, 4:11 am

With all these glowing recommendations, I'll make an extra effort to watch this over the weekend.

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#10

Post by beavis » March 12th, 2016, 11:17 pm

excellent reccomendation
a solid 8,5 from me
the whole interaction with the gendarmes was handled a bit too much conform genre requirements... it didn't feel as real as it could have. But the way the story and especially the characters are structured and layered was very compelling and engaging. . I liked the actors and cinematography very much too... so it could definitly grow on me, but for now just a very good piece of filmmaking with lots of bonuspoints for the original touches

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#11

Post by Pretentious Hipster » March 12th, 2016, 11:20 pm

Yea this is totally Sundays and Cybele all over again. Everyone going head over heels with something and me not getting it at all, and with the same lead actress on top of that. Maybe Kas should see it to see if he'll hate it too.
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#12

Post by joachimt » March 12th, 2016, 11:47 pm

Ettinauer226XL on Mar 12 2016, 04:20:19 PM wrote:Yea this is totally Sundays and Cybele all over again.
Indeed. I rated both movies 10/10. ^_^
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#13

Post by Fergenaprido » March 13th, 2016, 5:19 pm

Acting & Cinematography: great stuff
Film: not so much

A reticent crochety old man and a delusional impetuous teen can be interesting, but if you don't give them much to do the premise gets old quickly. I was bored most of the time, and had to keep rewinding when I got distracted. I also didn't buy in to the central romance at all.

Makes me want to put off watching Dimanches even more, now.

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#14

Post by Gershwin » March 14th, 2016, 1:47 pm

Ettinauer226XL on Mar 12 2016, 04:20:19 PM wrote:Yea this is totally Sundays and Cybele all over again. Everyone going head over heels with something and me not getting it at all, and with the same lead actress on top of that. Maybe Kas should see it to see if he'll hate it too.
I hated Dimanches as well. Maybe I'll try it.
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#15

Post by ChrisReynolds » March 15th, 2016, 7:18 pm

I try not to look at these threads or IMDb pages before I write my review, so I just wrote a post about how much it reminded me of Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray, and then I look the dates to see which one came first and it's the same girl! Anyway, here's what I wrote:

Beautiful craftsmanship here but the story seemed dull at times. The cinematography creates a wild coastal atmosphere and impressive use of shadow in some beautiful scenes, especially when the soundtrack plays. It reminded me a lot of Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray, with a young girl starting a relationship with an older man who ends up getting shot. Except here the relationship becomes physical and there's the conceit of her being more child-like in her mind than she is in body. This did feel like they'd aged her a bit to try and morally absolve Joseph from what is still disturbing behaviour. I think the film would have been more effective if they'd made Joseph a more ambiguous figure, rather than trying to pretend that he's heroic.

5 or 6/10
Last edited by ChrisReynolds on March 15th, 2016, 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#16

Post by allisoncm » March 15th, 2016, 8:32 pm

Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray is one of my favorite films. However, Rapture didn't do so much for me. I thought it was okay as well, about 6/10. I saw it after the FOTW was over. Sorry that I didn't get to it before.

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#17

Post by AdamH » July 19th, 2020, 10:31 am

Great film. I can't believe I didn't see it until now as I also love Les dimanches de Ville d'Avray. #7 on 500<400 and only 184 checks. Great cinematography, another great performance from Patricia Gozzi (who was also in Les Dimanches) and an interesting plot. Thanks mightysparks for recommending it. I loved the general scenery and the way they shot certain scenes and also liked
SpoilerShow
the ending with the parallel between Joseph dying and the doll being thrown off the cliff and both ending in the same position.

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#18

Post by mightysparks » July 19th, 2020, 10:36 am

I guess I have to watch it now after recommending it lol
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#19

Post by sebby » July 20th, 2020, 12:39 am

allisoncm wrote:
March 15th, 2016, 8:32 pm
Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray is one of my favorite films. However, Rapture didn't do so much for me. I thought it was okay as well, about 6/10. I saw it after the FOTW was over. Sorry that I didn't get to it before.
Same opinion. Rapture feels like the generic store-brand version of Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray. Everything about it is worse by comparison.

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