Marcel Ophuls has made a delightful return to filmmaking after an eighteen-year absence with his documentary Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Un Voyageur in the French original). The acclaimed filmmaker of classics such as The Sorrow and the Pity and Hôtel Terminus graces us with a funny and sincere gem. The camera follows Ophuls as he reveals his family, film, and life memories. On the go, vivacious, and mischievous, Ophuls joyfully creates a unique diary through the streets of Paris, New York, London, Sarajevo, and Venice—only to name a few sights.
Accompanied by his astute charm and cinematic knowledge, Marcel begins with a tribute to his father with stories and nostalgic footage of Max Ophuls’ most stunning works. Cinephiles’ mouths will water as Marcel reads a letter from Stanley Kubrick or talks about his great friendship with François Truffaut. Ophuls’ film and artistic influences go as wide as Frank Capra, the Marx Brothers, Bogart, Lubitsch, and Brecht. His stories range from historical and familial to personal dreamlike accounts, such as his near romantic night with an aged Marlene Dietrich. Certainly none of his tales border on the banal.
Hypnotized by Ophuls’ naturally amicable disposition, I found myself happily following his every move, even in his most intense personal accounts of domestic violence and multiple suicide attempts. Never does the filmmaker try to sugar coat his life for the sake of reputation or glamour. As an audience, we are blessed to witness such honesty from Marcel as well as his close friends and past artistic collaborators.
What is most evident is that Marcel is still misbehavin’, and that he has not lost his filmmaking touch. Be sure not to miss this rare documentary from one of cinema’s living legends.
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