Director: Woody Allen

108 minutes| U.S.A.| 1992| Colour| 35mm

Conceived and written before Allen’s traumatic rift with Mia Farrow and before life started imitating art, Husbands and Wives is a prickly meditation on the theme of ‘What is this thing called love?’ When a married couple (Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis) agree on a trial separation, their best friends (Woody Allen and Mia Farrow) begin to question the basis of their own marriage. It precipitates a narrative where couples will fall out, regroup, find new partners or renew old relationships on a different footing.

The film’s cinema-verite style appropriately intensifies a sense of intrusiveness, unease and of feelings being examined under a microscope. The resolution, which crosscuts between all the main relationships during a thunderstorm to bring them to some sort of conclusion, is a master-class in cinematic construction. This time the aphorisms are not only witty but lethal: ‘You use sex to express every emotion except love.’

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