“Rebellion is the only thing that keeps you alive!”
Tuesday April 27th, 8pm
Arlo & Esme 42 E. 1st street (between 1st & 2nd ave)
The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)
In the early morning light, after a night of trippy, existential dreams, Rebecca (Marianne Faithfull) sneaks out of her bed in Alsace, France where her stable, school teacher husband, Raymond (Roger Mutton) sleeps.
Zipping herself into a black leather jumpsuit, she climbs onto her Harley and heads for Heidelberg, Germany to her dark, dangerous, ex motorcycle racing lover, Daniel (played by Alain Delon, referred to as the French James Dean, and the male Brigitte Bardot).
Riding through the European countryside, Rebecca is free and alone on the open road, full of excitement and anticipation in seeing her Daniel.
Flashbacks tell the story of how they first met. While working at her father’s bookshop, Daniel looking for a rare book, takes her out for a ride on his Norton Atlas. The affair begins.
Daniel, to whom the affair is clearly nothing more than an affair, makes a rather posturing, inappropriate wedding gift to Rebecca of the Harley. Delivered to her father’s shop, Raymond is confused and hurt, but tells her to keep it if it will make her happy.
Finally arriving in Heidelberg, Rebecca is ecstatic. She throws herself into Daniels arms in an exhausted frenzy. The rendevouz is short lived however, as the moment she sees Daniel, her thoughts switch to longing for Raymond.
We see a now more complex Raymond. He’s Very similar to Daniel we discover, and dark in his own way. They both teach, they both smoke pipes, and in many ways they are both very much like her father.
Weeping in a café, she tries to write a letter to end it with Daniel but is unable. It seems clear nothing will change. Wadding up the tear stained letter, she storms out. Full of love and defiant conviction that she has done nothing wrong and that she should have them both.
Now her thoughts are of nothing but the Harley and the road. She speeds towards home and Raymond, knowing she will soon once again be in Heidelberg with Daniel. Laughing, weeping, pushing the bike faster and faster. Weaving in and out of traffic, she is at peace. She is happy alone on the road. Racing towards the future and with no regard for the past.
WHAM! Head on, into a truck. A huge ball of flames and a slow pan out to show the pileup and spectators running towards the scene.
Full album of screen shots HERE
Alain Delon on Marianne Faithfull: “She is a happening all to herself. She is the type of girl men fought dragons for in mythology, the type that duels have been fought over.”
(from an interview with the actors on the making of Girl on a Motorcycle in the October 1968 issue of ABC Film Review, by Philip Bradford)