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Louis Coline assists the head of advertising of a department store in decline. He has little to do, but seems content with his marriage to Nina, his visits to his mother and grandmother, and poker games with friends. When new boss Bernard Malair arrives to turn the store around, Louis fears for his job; but Bernard, with his numbers man Paul and his factotum François, invites Louis into an inner circle of long hours of work, nightclubs, and dinners with an androgynous vamp. Nina objects, but Louis cannot say no to Bernard's demands, no matter how personal. In desperation, Nina leaves Louis, but that drives him further into Bernard's orbit. Can anything break this spell? Written by
I do not leave you for someone else,but because you do not exist anymore.
"Une étrange affaire" is Pierre Granier-Deferre's magnum opus,where he goes for broke and proves he can be brilliant.He made another important work at the beginning of the seventies "le chat" but it owed a great deal to its stars Gabin and Signoret.Here,there's a veteran, Michel Piccoli,and Gérard Lanvin,a generally unambitious actor,finds his best part.But it does not explain everything:the screenplay is very well constructed,the atmosphere stifling and the hero seems to be caught in a giant cobweb.
First part depicts the fears of the employees of a department store :a new boss is about to arrive and some skivers are in a cold sweat about it.All rings true,and the whole cast is really excellent.
Enter the new boss,Piccoli,who will not be the one everyone expected:he's a bon vivant and he treats Gérard ,the hero, as a friend.He takes him to chic places,where the young man feels like a bull in a china shop,he gives him responsibilities and promotion is around the corner.
When the future seems brighter than ever ,it's actually the beginning of the end:his wife ,Nina (a lucid sensitive Natalie Baye) ,has cleverly noticed something was wrong:actually the boss and his beaming but disturbing henchman (Jean-Pierre Kalfon) are making her husband their thing,a slave at their beck and call.They even look into his private life ,and one night,the boss even requisitions the apartment and the couple's bedroom ."You do not exist anymore" says the wife as tragedy is impending.
The boss 's method is some kind of professional fascism,which destroys all that makes a man a human being.It's all the more terrifying as the Master is always friendly,joking,smiling and even fascinating.The conclusion ,which refuses the happy end will give you the jitters.
A strange affair indeed.highly recommended.
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