François Truffaut's compelling story of a woman's plight to find love, and get away from her old relationship is quite astonishing. Mathilde (Fanny Ardant) moves to an outskirt of Grenoble to get away from her old life, to find she is living next door to Bernard (Gérard Depardieu - there are too many classics to name) - a tanker driving instructor, who was once smitten with Mathilde. She is now happily married to Phillipe, who obviously didn't know he was going to be so close to her ex when he signed the tenancy agreement.
Told by Odile Jouve, we see the story unfold, from the passionate rendez-vous in the hotel, to arguments inside her tennis complex, we're treated to the full picture of where it started, and how it went onwards.
I have to say this is one of the best movies from the 80s - François Truffaut writing and direction is impeccable, from the dialogue right through to the passion, frustration and downright jealousy from Bernard, all perfectly captured by him. Suzanne Schiffman also does a great job with the structure and the funny old sayings that get thrown into the conversations. An example of this is the old saying "elle cherche midi a quartorze heures", which I've not heard for ages (it means she's looking for trouble, in essence) and it makes this film a worthy watch.
The colour and bright scenes look fabulous, the colour saturation looking perfect, not too much and not too little, the colourist did a fantastic job of this. Everything looks much more realistic with this, which makes the film more enjoyable.
This film shines because of the psychological tension it builds, and the fact Fanny and Gerard really look good together and it's believable that they could be a couple. As Truffaut once said she is like one of the Bronte sisters, yet I can see Audrey Toutou and Fanny do look alike.
This DVD is not bad, but it does have faults, like there's still a lot of damage to the remastered film, but the soundtrack is excellent, with a 256kbps bitrate. The video could have done with a full DVD9 rather than party DVD9 like here, maybe less compression would have been nice. The introduction is good and gives a good insight into when Truffaut made this film, and why he felt Fanny and Gerard were perfect for this film. Otherwise there's little else, nice to have commentaries from the pair too, and the subtitles are easily turned off, which is a god send for people who speak French like myself.
All in all, this is a good transfer, and worth buying if you love this film. Rent it if you're not sure though.
on 22 August 2008
From the very beginning this movies captivates the viewer as right after the start -which poses a lot of questions- goes back in the past. A happy iddylic life in the french countryside of a happily married husband and father falls apart when he finds out this his new neighbour is an ex with whom he shared a passionate and loving relatioship that ended bitterly many years ago. What happens next aftey they decided to keep to their halfs secret of their past is well portrayed by the director and the emotions escalate with unpredictable reactions by both the old lovers. A well made movie, a must for any 80s french movie fun but also for anyone who likes to watch human emotions to the test and what love can do..