Sunday 15 September 2013

A Man and a Woman [1966]

The French romantic drama A Man and a Woman was a smash-hit upon its release, both commercially and critically. It doesn’t stand the scrutiny as well today – it was an exercise in style way over content, and its candy-floss romance hardly allowed space for psychological depth or complexity. Yet, the very simplicity of this love story between two matured individuals, as opposed to naïve teenagers that love stories overwhelmingly favour, made it an affecting and refreshing watch. Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a race-car driver, and Anne (Anouk Aimée), a beautiful scriptwriter, have both tragically lost their marital partners – his wife committed suicide when he had a near-fatal car crash, while her husband, who was a stuntman, died in an accident during a movie shoot. They are also doting parents to their kids who study in the same boarding school. Consequently, when she takes a lift in his car upon missing her train to Paris, it’s easy to guess that these two lovelorn souls, bound by their shared tragedy, would be falling for each other before long. The director made elaborate use of flashbacks to recount their back-stories, in order to recount the commonality in their lives; though they provided a personal peak into their pasts, they could have perhaps been slightly trimmed. Nonetheless, the charming romance that developed between these two likeable and easy-going individuals was heartwarming, and despite the tad bland narrative, the renowned climax still packs an emotional wallop. The film’s rapturous visuals, which frequently shifted from colour to B/W to sepia and back, might make one scratch one’s head in perplexity, but the reason was actually purely monetary. The lilting music furthered its gently lyrical feel.

Director: Claude Lelouch
Genre: Drama/Romance
Language: French
Country: France


Sam Juliano said...

Style over content for sure Shubhajit, and rather dates and forgettable in the end. Smart and dead-on review!

Shubhajit said...

As I understand this was a huge hit, even internationally, upon its release, and was a popular date film as well. But yes, as you agreed, it certainly isn't the movie that it had been made out to be then - not a bad film, but not great either.