Les Amants

In the late 1950s, Les Amantscaused a considerable scandal for its depiction of a married mother walking out on her family for a younger man. Adapted by director Louis Malle and his co-screenwriter Louise De Vilmorin from the 18th century short story by Dominique Vivant, the film helped turn Moreau into an iconic leading actress. Wilful and alluring, she plays Jeanne Tournier, the bored wife of a Dijon newspaper proprietor. After making passionate love with a young student of a few hours acquaintance, Jeanne decides to leave everything for a new life. Whereas Lift to the Scaffold was a noir-ish thriller, Les Amantsis a much more classical, sensual piece of filmmaking. Shot in elegant long takes and with an extensive use of Brahms on the soundtrack, its centrepiece is the almost wordless sequence in which Jeanne and Bernard fall in love during one magical night. Love can be born in one glance, murmurs Moreau in voiceover, and in that moment all shame and restraint died away.’
France. 1958. English subtitles. Black and white. Anamorphic. 88 mins.

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