Pierre Lachenay is a well-known publisher and lecturer, married with Franca and father of Sabine, around 10. He meets an air hostess, Nicole. They start a love affair, which Pierre is hiding, but he cannot stand staying away from her.
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Pierre Lachenay, a middle-aged, well-known publisher and lecturer, is married to Franca, an unbalanced woman, and father of Sabine, a 10-year-old girl. While traveling to Lisbon for a lecture, Pierre Lachenay has a one night stand with Nicole, the Panair do Brasil air stewardess. He wants to see her again and again, they travel to Reims together, and Pierre hides the affair from his family, mostly to spare his daughter the anguish of a separation. Nicole is taking it lightly but Pierre, misunderstanding her feelings and expectations, decides to live with her. The couple's break-up leads to a tragic end. Written by
A stunningly modern film on the most classic of all melodramas
François Truffaut's fourth feature and his first true masterpiece is essentially a classic love triangle, filmed like a quiet juggernaut that eventually overwhelms all those involved. On a quick trip to Lisbon for a lecture, literary essayist Jean Desailly's eye catches the lovely Françoise Dorléac, the air hostess on his flight. Soon he's asking her out for a drink and a love affair develops in between her flights, as his married life with seductive but demanding wife Nelly Benedetti slowly unravels. Much to Truffaut's credit, there is no judgment passed on any of the characters: whether Desailly is undergoing a dreaded mid-life crisis and wishes to be young again or is merely indulging an intellectual whim, whether he really wants to prove himself he is still a man capable of passion or just looking for a way out of his stifling marriage, is entirely up to the viewer to decide. But the director doesn't avert his eye from the seedy unpleasantness of the central situation, as the masterfully extended Reims interlude and the shock ending prove. Basically, it's a film about the mess people make when they think they're in love, all the more disturbing because Truffaut bases it all on chance meetings and missed opportunities - had Desailly not arrived late for his plane to Lisbon, had Dorléac not called him back at the hotel, maybe none of this would have happened. Marvelously shot in black and white by Nouvelle Vague lenser Raoul Coutard, this was the very first film where Truffaut showed the world all he was capable of; it's a stunningly modern film on the most classic of all melodramatic stories.
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