Marie Prieur, a young doctor, decides to settle down on Ushant, a remote island belonging to Brittany. Little by little she manages to be accepted by the population. One day she meets André... See full summary »
Can a person really lead a double life? It looks as though Irène can. On the one hand, she is the wife of Jacques Voisin-Larive, a big name in the publishing world. On the other hand she ... See full summary »
Andre Laurent, the captain of a tugboat, married Yvonne ten years ago. She has a heart disease but does not want to tell him. She dreams he quits the job for they can live quietly. One ... See full summary »
Lucien Bourrache, a good looking non-commissioned officer at the Spahis, is used to charm many women. He met Madeleine Courtois at Cannes. She is beautiful and lives in luxury. He lends her... See full summary »
Marie Prieur, a young doctor, decides to settle down on Ushant, a remote island belonging to Brittany. Little by little she manages to be accepted by the population. One day she meets André Lorenzi, a handsome engineer, and it is love at first sight. Life is wonderful for a while but André wants to marry her only if she remains at home. Despite her strong feelings for André, Marie refuses to give up her vocation and the two lovers part. Marie finds herself alone, with a broken heart. Written by
That was to be Grémillon's last full-length feature film.After a golden decade (roughly from "Gueule d'Amour" (1937) to the overlooked "Pattes Blanches "(1947) which is perhaps his masterpiece ) there were only two movies: "L'Etrange Madame X " which was an intimate version of "Lumière d'Ete" : the bourgeois society versus the working-class people (cabinet-maker Henri Vidal and unhappy married uptown woman Michèle Morgan).And this movie.
"L'Amour d'une Femme " is a beautiful film.Beautiful but extremely sad,even lugubrious.It features two funerals ,and many many depressing scenes;even the love scenes (with the exception of the one which takes place when the schoolteacher's is dying) are painful,the two lovers talk but they do not communicate:the engineer is an Italian macho -one mistake: dubbing Massimo Girotti was dubious cause he was supposed to have an accent- ;for him,a woman's job is acceptable as soon as she is without a man.But when she gets married ,she becomes a housewife.It was the fifties after all,woman's lib hadn't happened yet and Marie who wants to reconcile her work and the love she feels for Andrea ,is too much ahead of her time.The young schoolteacher who replaces Madame Leblanc at the end of the film,will do it,simply because she 's doing a female job (teaching)and her fiancé is her colleague.I hardly exaggerate when I write that there were three jobs for a woman before the sixties: shop assistant or factory girl at worst,nurse or teacher at best.But a female doctor? On the Ouessant Island,In Britanny,Grémillon's native region -where "Pattes Blanches" took place too- where coarse uneducated people live,it's hard to accept that.And even once she's integrated ,the teacher warns her " Beware,people will talk " Marie's job took the best of her,but it gave her independence,pride,self-assurance .But the schoolteacher's death ,which is the turning point of the film ,calls everything into question.What?All that admirable woman did for the others' children,it's already forgotten.Two of the pupils she loved left the funeral to look for their lamb ,no one shed a tear during the ceremony.All that is left is photographs of the mistress ,surrounded by pupils,photographs which will soon turn yellow.
When Madame Leblanc,about to retire, packs her stuff,when the doctor asks herself if her work is finally worthwhile ,we think of the director who knew it was to be his final work.During his last years he had to be content with shorts ,which,for a first-class director such as him ,was certainly a pity,considering the great works he could have still made.He died at 61,prematurely.
A last thing : religion was important in Britanny (still is) and the inhabitants 'life was governed by the rhythm of the services,the vespers,the mass sung in Latin.The only moment when it's not taken seriously takes place after Marcel's operation ,when a drunk verger breaks into "Minuit Chrétiens" (O holy night).
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?