Max Ophuls’ La Ronde (1950) follows a chain of amorous liaisons, passing from one lover to the next until the story comes back to where it started. Ever attracted to circular patterns, in his Madame de... the unnamed wife (Danielle Darrieux) of an aristocrat pawns her earrings to pay off her debts. The transaction sets off a chain reaction, as the earrings exchange hands between the pawnbroker, the lady’s husband, her husband’s mistress, and her suitor, implicating each in a web of desire and deceit that leads to tragedy.
Ophuls’ film presents a woman imprisoned by social conventions and a material world of ornate, glittering decor, which the director navigates in sublimely sinuous tracking shots.
“The most subtle, elegant and cruel romantic film.” Alain Masson
“Love has never been better depicted on the screen. It is like Mozart: light and tragic.” Christian Viviani
“Cinema’s most dazzling flow of imagery, with the chill of death in every transition.” Michael Phillips
“Ophuls’ sublime testament to romantic yearnings.” Tom Ryan
“The glove is velvet; the punch, hard.” Robert Cashill