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Dear misguided gawker:
In spite of all appearances, this film is not just about an old sleazy man preying on a young innocent girl. Henri Serin is a broken man, he stopped believing in society and decided to become an artist (a painter) following somewhat the footstep of his glorious predecessor Paul Gauguin (another broken man, very much the sleazeball by today's standards.) But Henri fails to succeed in his bold endeavor and is left in shambles. Henri is an alcoholic and his lust for art turn into a misfit's nightmare. Until he meets Mary.
He is inspired by her beauty and her innocence, and he finds redemption and LOVE in her gentle arms. It is well understood that most beings in this world are drawn to oblivion and use their sexual desire to lose consciousness, but in this instance, Henri Serin through his keen eye for grace looks up and open his being to the true beauty and sacred nature of this universe. Mary's youth and appealing beauty become his vessel to transcendence. This moment is a testament to what is possible. Love and desire to redeem our fallen selves. Whoever has eyes let them see!
The film is directed by the great Joel Seria and played by the immense Jean-Pierre Marielle and the subtle Jeanne Goupil (Seria's partner at the time.)