Un Homme et une Femme DVD
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Directed by Claude Lelouch
Produced in 1966
Main Language - French with English subtitles
The enduring French romantic drama with the unforgettable theme. Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant star. It's a lovely, touching Oscar-winning drama, says David Parkinson.
Claude Lelouch was once lauded for his talent of ‘photographing clichés so that they sparkle and glow with poetry’. Indeed, it’s the conventional wisdom that this is a beautiful melodrama that exploits the glamour of cinema and motor racing to bolster a slight romance. Yet it won Oscars for Best Foreign Film and Best Screenplay in 1967 and the Cannes Palme d’Or in 1966 (sharing the prize with The Birds, the Bees and the Italians). More importantly, the film’s romantic charm has continued to win devoted fans since its release over 40 years ago.
The storyline is simple. Script supervisor Anouk Aimée is still mourning the death of her stuntman husband when she bumps into widowed motor ace Jean-Louis Trintignant as they drop their children at a Deauville school. Trintignant has also endured his share of tragedy, as his wife committed suicide when convinced he would not recover from a crash. But will past memories prevent them from grasping future happiness?
Simple, touching, undeniably chic, over the years, Un Homme et une Femme has unjustly became something of a byword for cinematic superficiality, but much of this was motivated by snooty critics eager to dash Lelouch’s auteur aspirations by dismissing him as a maker of pretty pictures. In fact, his cinematography is often exquisite and he was certainly not alone in exploiting his stars’ photogenicity. Even though Lelouch makes extensive use of long lenses and shallow focus, drifts in and out of colour and amasses some 4000 shots in compiling intricate montages and monologues, there’s much more to this touching tale than visual polish.
In addition to an Oscar nomination, Aimée won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for her sensitive performance, while Francis Lai’s musical theme became a worldwide hit in a decade scarcely short of memorable melodies. All of which raises an interesting question. Was the picture unfairly castigated for those most egregious of arthouse sins: popularity and profitability?
David Parkinson on 24th May 2011
Author of 241 reviews
A wonderful, Oscar and Palme d'Or winning romantic drama, famed for Francis Lai's unforgettable musical theme, Un Homme et une Femme stars Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant as a widowed man and woman who meet by chance and whose friendship slowly kindles into love.
A perfect example of the type of adult drama that the French do to perfection, this is a tender and visually breathtaking study of the moments between the time they meet and the point at which they begin to read each other intuitively.
Un Homme et une femme was a Palme d'Or Winner at Cannes (jointly winning with The Birds, the Bees and the Italians), earned Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Direction, and also won Oscars for Best Foreign Film and Best Original Screenplay.
Length: 104 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 16th May 2011
Cat No: WHVXXXY
- French Region 2 edition, playable in all UK DVD players
- Film is in French with optional English subtitles