The Aviator's Wife (1981)
"La femme de l'aviateur" (original title)

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A young student is devastated when he finds that his girlfriend is cheating on him. In order to find out why she did it, he decides to spy on her and her lover.



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Complete credited cast:
Philippe Marlaud ...
Anne-Laure Meury ...
Mathieu Carrière ...
Philippe Caroit ...
François' Friend
Coralie Clément ...
Anne's Colleague
María Luisa García ...
Anne's Friend (as Lisa Hérédia)
Haydée Caillot ...
Mary Stephen ...
Neil Chan ...
Rosette ...


The aviator Christian visits his ex-mistress Anne seven o'clock in the morning, to tell her that their affair is over, because his wife is pregnant and will soon move to Paris. Anne's new lover, François, happens to see Christian and Anne when they leave her house, and thinks that their affair is still going on. He tries to contact Anne, but she won't talk to him. At a pavement café François sees Christian and an unknown woman, which he assumes is the aviator's wife. As he is in a bad mood and doesn't know what to do, he decides to follow the couple. On his way through a park he bumps into a cute girl, Lucie, who is 15 years old and has taken a day off from school. Lucie soon brings 20-year-old François to explain to her what has happened to him this morning. She is excited by his story and especially the puzzling parts of it. She joins him in pursuing the couple and thinks out various hypotheses about them. When the couple goes into a lawyer's office, Lucie is sure that the unknown ... Written by Maths Jesperson {}

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Comedy | Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

4 March 1981 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Aviator's Wife  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the Canadian tourists is played by Mary Stephen who would go on to become a regular editor for Eric Rohmer. See more »


When Francois put a stamp on the postcard he wants to mail to Lucie, the writing on the card is different than the one he wrote previously. The words are the same but on different or more lines. See more »


Followed by The Green Ray (1986) See more »


Paris m'a séduit
Performed by Arielle Dombasle with Jean-Louis Valéro
See more »

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User Reviews

Rohmer knows relationships
30 August 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In this bittersweet tale of disconnections and possibilities perhaps we have the essence of the art of Eric Rohmer. If you have only one Rohmer film to see, perhaps you ought to make it this one because it is so very, very French, so interestingly talkative (one of Rohmer's trademarks) and so very, very Rohmer.

The Aviator's wife, incidentally does not appear except in a photograph, but that is all to the point. Everything is a bit off stage in this intriguing drama: love especially is a bit off stage. And yet how all the participants yearn.

Marie Riviere stars as Anne who is in love with the aviator. We catch her just as she learns that he no longer wants her. He tells her that his wife is pregnant and so he must return to her. Meanwhile, she is being pestered by Francois (Philippe Marlaud) who is in love with her. However he is a little too young and "clinging." Truly she is not interested. It is a disconnection as far as she is concerned.

The heart of the film occurs when Francois is following the aviator and the blond woman. Francois is obsessive and jealous. He follows isn't clear and he really doesn't know why except that this is the man that Anne loves. As it happens while he is following them he runs into a pretty fifteen-year-old (Lucie, played fetchingly by Anne-Laure Meury) who imagines that he is following her. She turns it into a game, and again we have a disconnection. She is fun and cute and full of life, but he cannot really see her because he pines for Anne. Meanwhile Anne of course is pining for the aviator.

Rohmer's intriguing little joke is about the aviator's wife. Who is she and what is she like? We can only imagine. And this is right. The woman imagines what the other woman is like, but never really knows unless she meets her.

Maire Riviere is only passably pretty, but she has gorgeous limbs and beautiful skin and a hypnotic way about her, which Rohmer accentuates in the next to the last scene in her apartment with Francois. We follow the talk between the two, of disconnection and off center possibilities, of friends and lovers with whom things are tantalizingly not exactly right and yet not tragically wrong. As we follow this talk we see that Anne's heart is breaking or has broken--and all the while we see her skin as Francois does. She wants to be touched, but not by him. And then she allows him to touch her, but only in comforting gestures, redirecting his hands away from amorous intent. And then she goes out with a man in whom she really has no interest.

Such is life, one might say. Rohmer certainly thinks so.

One thing I love about Rohmer's films is that you cannot predict where they will go. Another thing is his incredible attention to authentic detail about how people talk and how they feel without cliché and without any compromise with reality--Rohmer's reality of course, which I find is very much like the reality that I have experienced.

See this for Eric Rohmer whose entre into the world of cinema is substantial, original, and wonderfully evocative of what it is like to live in the modern world with an emphasis on personal relationships and love.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

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