4 user 6 critic

The Long Absence (1961)

Une aussi longue absence (original title)
Thérèse Langlois, who runs a small café in the suburbs of Paris, lives alone, awaiting her long lost husband. One day she thinks she recognizes him in a tramp walking past her establishment... See full summary »


Henri Colpi
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 5 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Alida Valli ... Thérèse Langlois
Georges Wilson ... Le clochard
Charles Blavette ... Fernand
Amédée Amédée ... Marcel Langlois
Paul Faivre Paul Faivre ... Le retraité
Pierre Parel Pierre Parel ... Un agent
Catherine Fonteney Catherine Fonteney ... Alice Langlois
Diane Lepvrier ... Martine (as Diana Lepvrier)
Nane Germon Nane Germon ... Simone
Charles Bouillaud Charles Bouillaud ... Favier
Corrado Guarducci Corrado Guarducci ... Un ouvrier
Clément Harari Clément Harari ... L'homme au juke-box
Jean Luisi Jean Luisi ... Un ouvrier
Pierre Mirat Pierre Mirat ... L'épicier
Jacques Harden ... Pierre - le camionneur


Thérèse Langlois, who runs a small café in the suburbs of Paris, lives alone, awaiting her long lost husband. One day she thinks she recognizes him in a tramp walking past her establishment. It must be said that her spouse has not shown any signs of life ever since he had disappeared during the World War Two. Because the stranger has lost his memory, Thérèse tries hard to stir up memories in him but she fails. Is the stranger really the man of her life? Anyway, the tramp disappears once more. Alone again, Thérèse still hopes he will come back. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...from Marguerite Duras ("Hiroshima Mon Amour") comes another powerful and most important film. See more »




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Did You Know?


Italian censorship visa # 34357 delivered on 28-3-1961. See more »


Featured in Music for the Movies: Georges Delerue (1995) See more »


Trois Petites Notes de Musique
Music by Georges Delerue
Lyrics by Henri Colpi
Performed by Cora Vaucaire
See more »

User Reviews

"Heureux, autrefois."
30 November 2020 | by brogmillerSee all my reviews

Although it might not belong in the 'neglected masterpiece' category this tender, poignant and beautifully understated film deserves to be far better known.

Henri Colpi and Yasmine Chesnay had together contributed superlative editing to 'Hiroshima, mon amour' and 'Last year at Marienbad'. This is Colpi's directorial debut and Chesnay is credited with montage. The tempo is 'lento' throughout and severely tests the attention span of the average viewer. It gradually draws you in however and is ultimately richly rewarding.

Therese feels sure that she recognises in the tramp who passes her bistro every day the husband that was arrested by the Gestapo and deported fifteen years earlier. He is suffering from amnesia and she sets about helping him to restore his memory. Even when he suddenly departs she does not give up hope and says "I will wait until Winter."

The two central performances of Alida Valli and Georges Wilson are simply stunning and the last thirty minutes or so represent film making at its best. The scenes that stand out are those in which she uses the amnesiac's love of Rossini's operas to try and unlock his mind and that in which she discovers the deep scar on his skull as they dance to the delightful 'trois petites notes de musique' of Georges Delerue.

Both the director and writer Marguerite Duras have succeeded admirably in depicting the strength and constancy of a woman's love but also, in Colpi's own words, "the fundamental impossibility of two human beings to communicate."

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France | Italy



Release Date:

15 November 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Long Absence See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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