Bertrand Morane's burial is attended by all the women the forty-year-old engineer loved. We then flash back to Bertrand's life and love affairs, told by himself while writing an autobiograph... Read allBertrand Morane's burial is attended by all the women the forty-year-old engineer loved. We then flash back to Bertrand's life and love affairs, told by himself while writing an autobiographical novel. A film about romantic relationships, the need to charm, and the literary creat... Read allBertrand Morane's burial is attended by all the women the forty-year-old engineer loved. We then flash back to Bertrand's life and love affairs, told by himself while writing an autobiographical novel. A film about romantic relationships, the need to charm, and the literary creation.
The Man Who Loved Women (1977) might just be Truffaut's funniest comedy but, what is more, it also presents an insightful picture of an obsessive womanizer Bertrand, brilliantly played by Charles Denner. Just like The Story of Adele H., it is also a story about an independent character who is a victim of his own obsession. In addition, in the background of both stories there is an abandonment (made by a mother or a lover), both protagonists try to imitate their parents in one way or another and are inevitably going to face destruction, both stories are also recorded to personal memoirs and both of them have separate prologue and epilogue sequences.
Already in the very beginning of The Man Who Loved Women we are told that the protagonist has died and at the cemetery we enter a long flashback which equals most of the film. However, before we enter this flashback we see women walking to the cemetery but also Truffaut himself passing by, which is a clear statement that the film knows that it is fiction. As if he was sealing the deal. It is consciously exaggerated romanticism, so to speak. This idea is also highlighted by the fact that the protagonist starts to change his memories when he decides to write an autobiographical novel. His whole life is fiction.
Usually, Truffaut portraits fatal women who lead their lovers to death and destruction (Jules and Jim, The Bride Wore Black) but in this case the man is the dangerous character who lures women. However, in reality he is much more destructive for himself than for the women he loves. His obsession seems to be some sort of a defense mechanism against the vulnerability which hunts many of Truffaut's characters who are often abandoned by a cold mother (The 400 Blows).
As said, Bertrand is a victim of his own obsession and just like the dogmatism of Catherine, from Jules et Jim, so is the obsession of Bertrand an absolute prelude for death. He is constantly tied to his own madness. He loves to watch women and even points out that "women's legs are like compass points, circling the globe." Although, this rather plain concept gets an intriguing twist because Bertrand actually sees the seductive legs of women everywhere -- even where there aren't any; like in the outrageous scene at the airport -- and they also seal his destiny.
Besides youth and innocence, love was a repeating theme throughout Truffaut's career and that is why he is often called the romantic of the French New Wave. In his world, love was a dominant force which restricted the lives of people. But it also appears to us as kind and patient. The Man Who Loved Women was Truffaut's tribute, not only to women, but to love. In the director's personal love life, he had several lovers but no life partners. Although, Truffaut wasn't a womanizer by any means he said that he never stopped loving his former lovers. As if relationships were transient but love was eternal.
- Aug 2, 2011