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aka - Lovers, The
France 1958
Directed by
Louis Malle
88 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Amants, Les

Malle's second feature is a self-reflexive, non-realist portrait of love that, like his first film, Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud (1957), starred Jeanne Moreau.

Moreau plays a bored provincial housewife who finds love in the arms of a young guest (Jean-Marc Bory) of her husband (Alain Cuny). Based on the 18th-century short story, "Point de Landemain", by Dominique-Vivant, the film won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes and was a huge international hit, although, as is so often the case, it is nowhere near as good as the more rigorous predecessor that made it possible.

More of a succès de scandale than a film of lasting merit, the central idea of libidinal liberation from the confines of bourgeois marriage no doubt appealed to the contemporary mind-set and the artistically-framed hot sex scene with Moreau didn't hurt in getting bums on seats but this says more about audience investment than what is actually visible on screen. However, if now the film seems unremarkable, Henri Decaë’s black and white photography stands the test of time.




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