"Murmur Of The Heart" Is Released

Murmur of the Heart (French: Le souffle au cœur) is a 1971 French motion picture by French director Louis Malle that tells a coming of age story about a 14-year-old boy who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France.

At the beginning, the film shows the adventures of the boy in the school and his first sexual experience at a brothel. When the boy is found to have a heart murmur after a bout of scarlet fever, he goes with his mother to a sanatorium, where a series of circumstances lead to a sexual encounter. Jazz music by Charlie Parker, member of the cast, Dizzy Gillespie and books from Bataille, Proust, and Camus features prominently in the film.

Told with fondness and precision, and set in France at the time of the IndoChina War (which later became an American problem known as the Vietnam War), this controversial feature handles teen coming-of-age, sexuality and even incest with a gentleness that disappointed the prurient and shocked the conservative. This is one of director Louis Malle's finest films: others include The Fire Within and Au Revoir Les Enfants. Laurent (Benoit Ferreux) is 14 years old and anxious to lose his virginity. However, he has a very close family circle, and, between the family and school, he is too closely watched to get anywhere. He makes the most of an opportunity to neck with the girls at his older brothers' party and later almost gets to lose his virginity in a bordello, but his boisterously drunken brothers interrupt him. His real opportunity arises while his mother takes him for a rest-cure for his heart murmur at a very conventional spa. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide