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aka - Things Of Life, The
France 1969
Directed by
Claude Sautet
89 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Choses De La Vie, Les

There have been many attempts by film-makers to depict the warp and woof of a protagonist's subjectivity but Sautet’s concentrated study of a middle-aged man, Pierre Bérard (Michel Piccoli), separated from his wife (Lea Massari) and ambivalent about his relationship with his mistress (Romy Schneider) is a particularly fine instance of it.

Adapted by Paul Guimard from his own novel with the help of Jean-Loup Dabadie and Sautet it is a beautifully scripted film that never once lapses into the expositional but rather tells Pierre’s story in a series of deftly realized moments, which are structurally counterpointed by a brilliantly photographed car crash that gets played multiple times at different speeds and which serves to give us a privileged position from which to observe this ordinary man’s life.  Health warning: A phenomenal amount of cigarette smoking occurs.

FYI:  Bizarrely enough, the film was remade by Tinseltown in 1994 with dismal results as Intersection with Richard Gere and Sharon Stone in the leads.




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