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Normandy, second half of the nineteenth century. Jeanne Dandieu lives in a manor house with her parents and their servant Rosalie. She gets to know Julien, a handsome man, whom she soon marries. Her happiness is short-lived as she finds out that not only has Julien married her for her money but he cheats on her as well, with Rosalie to crown it all. The latter gives birth to a baby girl before leaving the house. Six years later, Julien has a new mistress, Gilberte de Fourcheville. Jeanne puts up with this new ordeal bravely. However Gilbert's husband surprises the two lovers in a caravan and, in a rage, hurls them over the edge of a cliff. Written by
...you're born to be hurt.That's one of Maupassant's recurrent topic. Astruc only adapted the first half of the novel,which is probably this great writer's finest work along with his famous short stories which influenced a lot of people (Dudley Nichols found inspiration for "stagecoach" in "Boule de Suif")
There is a splendid cinematography ,where Claude Renoir's camera works wonders in a green ,too green Normandy."Une vie' tells the tale of a woman,Jeanne, (Schell) married with a man who treats her like a dog,cheating on her with every woman around.And this woman could not divorce,because it was the nineteenth century.
The second part of the novel is Jeanne's son's story and it's as tragic as the first one.But Astruc chose to end his movie before.
Alexandre Astruc ,though he came to the fore with the new wave was not part of them.His estheticism sometimes recalls the great patriarches:Jean Renoir (une partie de campagne) and Max Ophuls (le plaisir),but his style is harsher without any lyric outpouring.His style was called the camera-stylo (pen camera).
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