The Games of Love

1959 _ Victor and Suzanne have been together for two years, and don't have two pennies to rub together. She owns a second-hand shop next to the Panthéon in Paris. They'd be the perfect couple if only she didn't dream of having children, and if her ex weren't still on the scene...
Jean-Pierre Cassel dans Les Jeux de l'amour de Philippe de Broca

For the past two years, Victor has been living with Suzanne, who owns a second-hand shop next to the Panthéon in Paris. They’d be the perfect couple if only she weren’t desperate to have a child and her partner (whose only occupation is painting roses if and when he feels like it) weren’t so evasive.

François owns the estate agency across the street. He and Suzanne used to live together, and François has remained close to the couple, often popping by for neighborly visits. This makes him the quiet observer of the couple’s rows about Victor’s unwillingness to become a father; rows after which they always kiss and make up.

But this particular Saturday, as Victor slips off to avoid another discussion, Suzanne gives him his marching orders. Victor goes to drown his sorrows and dance his cares away in a neighborhood cabaret, while Suzanne goes out with François, who is delighted to have her on his arm once again. But Suzanne loses patience with her bashful suitor’s lack of humor and goes home, soon to be joined under false pretenses by Victor. The young lovers make up once again.

The next day, Sunday, they head off for a picnic with the ever-willing François. Hyperactive Victor won’t settle on a location, and annoys Suzanne, who ends up eating alone with François. The latter sees this as his golden opportunity to propose to Suzanne. Half serious, half annoyed, Suzanne accepts. When Victor hears the news, he seems sad, and then hitch-hikes back.

Back in Paris, Suzanne can’t go to François’ place straight away, and drags him out to the cabaret, where she dances enthusiastically while he sits and waits for her to be ready to go home. She doesn’t want to leave until closing time, at dawn. In front of Suzanne’s home, Victor is waiting for her. He promises Suzanne marriage and children. The couple go home, leaving François sad and alone.

 

Crew

Production: Ajym Film (Roland Nonin and Claude Chabrol).
Screenplay: Philippe de Broca and Daniel Boulanger based on an idea by Geneviève Cluny.
Script: Daniel Boulanger.
Director of Photography: Jean Penzer.
Cameraman: Pierre Lhomme.
Editing: Laurence Méry.
Music: Georges Delerue.
Sound technician: Jean Labussière.
Sets: Jacques Saulnier.
Production manager: Roland Nonin.
Stage manager: Jean Lavie.
Assistant director: Georges Pellegrin.
Script supervisor: Andrée François.
Photographer: André Dino.

 

Cast

Geneviève Cluny (Suzanne).
Jean-Pierre Cassel (Victor).
Jean-Louis Maury (François).
Maria Pacome (customer).
Robert Vattier (customer).
Claude Cerval (the widower).
Mario David (the travelling salesman).
Jeanne Pérez (the newsagent).
François Maistre (the dandy).
Pierre Repp (tenant).
Claude Chabrol (the carnie).
Daniel Boulanger (the cabaret dancer and the man with the Citroën).
Lud Germain and George Delerue (the cabaret pianist).

Running time: 83 minutes.
Initial title: Suzanne et les roses.
Filmed: 31 August – 19 October 1959, studios Billancourt.
Location: Paris
Release in Paris: 1 June 1960
Box office: 60 760 tickets sold over three weeks in four Paris cinemas.