Saturday, July 23, 2011


I am always interested in learning how a movie director creates a scene in his films to tell a story. The authenticity of a scene is so crucially important that it can make or break a movie, especially if it is a film telling a historical event, whether it is embellished and dramatized or not. It is the attention to details that makes a story believable. Henry and June was a labor of love for Philip Kaufman and his wife Rose, and it showed.

The story begins when Anais Nin and her husband Hugo lived in a house in Louveciennes, from 1930 to 1936 at 2 bis, rue Montbuisson. The house shown in the Henry and June movie looks remarkably similar to the real home in Louveciennes that is now listed for sale at about 4,000 Euro a square meter.

Louveciennes is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. It is located in the western suburbs of Paris, between Versailles and Saint-Germain-en-Laye, adjacent to Marly-le-Roi, and was frequented by impressionist painters in the 19th century. According to the official site, there are over 120 paintings by Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, and Monet depicting Louveciennes. Even Marcel Proust and Maupassant came to this town to escape Paris regularly. The well known composer Camille Saint-Saëns lived in Louveciennes from 1865 to 1870; and Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, the most famous female painter of the 18th century, died in Louveciennes 30 March 1842; Louis, 7th duc de Broglie, physicist and Nobel Prize laureate, died in Louveciennes 19 March 1987. It was thus very significant that Anais Nin started her career as an author in this very special town.

This clip shows the brief time Henry and June Miller were staying with Anais Nin and her husband Hugo in their home in Louveciennes as guests. Nearby is the forest de Marly, renamed from the ancient name of forest of Crüye at the end of the 17th century by Louis XIV who used it as hunting ground. The bicycle riding scene through the forest looks so authentic, and I really would like to know where it was filmed. During this visit, the Millers were not shy to show the great desire they have for each other and that openly charged energy and the aggressiveness of June did not escape Nin's silent fascination. Later on, back at the house, during the classic French match of "petanque" between Henry Miller and Hugo, the wide eyed Nin was the object of June's intense seduction. I am surprised that Kaufman did not play Debussy's Pour l'Egyptienne during that scene. He left the images speak silently without any musical background. You should try to find and read Nin's diary for this particular encounter. During the bicycle ride, the music you hear is Claude Debussy's Petite Suite - Ballet.
Tropic of Cancer

No comments: