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Une femme d’exterieur

Agnes Jaoui plays a nurse whose life is turned upside down when she learns that her husband is having an affair. The discovery prompts Françoise to reassess not only her marriage but her whole way of life. What makes the film absorbing is that director Christophe Blanc doesn’t bother with the psychology of this fragile woman: no reasons are given, no depression or convenient dysfunctional background is blamed, nor is there the pretence of this ever having been a particularly good marriage. Françoise neglects her children and her job as a nurse, starts frequenting seedy bars, and goes to bed with whomever is around. Nobody holds her back because nobody sees her. Françoise becomes an invisible woman, husbandless, childless, classless, and lost in a wintry provincial blur. The director’s camera tracks her relentlessly, while Jaoui is riveting as this woman who has fallen off the face of the map.

France, 1999.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby digital stereo.
118 mins.

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