Claude Goretta’s Garden Party

Most people who work for a company, regardless of its size, have probably attended an office party for the employees at a certain point. For some, the idea of socializing with co-workers outside of work is something to avoid if possible. For others, it is an opportunity to score points with the boss and maybe advance your career. Then there are employees who simply enjoy social gatherings where an open bar and free food is theirs for the taking. All of these personality types and more – the gossip, the prude, the party animal, etc. – are on display in The Invitation (French title: L’invitation, 1973), a comedy of manners by Swiss director Claude Goretta, in which the employees of a small firm gather at a country estate for an office party given by one of the most unlikely employees to host a soiree.

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Vittorio De Seta’s L’Invitata

Road movies might seem like a home grown American film genre with such famous examples as Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) but there have also been plenty of influential representatives from abroad such as Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear (1953) and Wim Wenders’ Kings of the Road (1976). The latter film, in particular, takes a much more introspective and observational approach to character and narrative and such is the case with Vittorio De Seta’s little seen and almost forgotten 1969 feature, L’Invitata (aka The Uninvited).  Continue reading