Shameless Old Lady, The

2655. THE SHAMELESS OLD LADY (1965-France). With SYLVIE. Based on a short story by BERTOLT BRECHT. This film is a rare treat indeed. It is an extremely knowing and poignant portrait of a 70-year-old woman named Mrs. Bertini and the manner in which she reacts to the death of her husband. For her entire fife, Mrs. Bertini has served others. She married while a young woman and passed the years cooking and serving and cleaning for her husband and her children. In one telling sequence, the just-widowed lady serves a meal to her brood, with not one soul offering her assistance. The story spotlights her connection to two of her relations: her son Albert, a petty and constantly complaining loser; and her grandson Pierre, who is lorded over by Albert and who would rather be off playing his guitar with his rock band and living his own life. Albert expresses his shock and disbelief when his mother begins “carrying on” by befriending a younger woman with whom she goes to the movies and shares laughs. After spending her entire life in servitude, Mrs. Bertini has decided that she will not pass her final years playing the role of mourning widow. The death of her husband has liberated her. She no longer has obligations, and for once she will not allow herself to be dictated to by the whims of others-including her “beloved” relatives. This gem of a film works perfectly as a perceptive allegory aboul the inevitable passage of time and the need to live as one sees fit and savor life’s little pleasures. In French with English subtitles. 94 minutes. Drama