(Un Homme et Une Femme)
“A Man and A Woman,” directed by Claude Lelouch, was one of the most popular international hits of the l960s. Unfolding as a classic romantic triangle with a twist, the movie revolves around a young widower, a young widow, and her husband.
The New Yorker critic Pauline Kael pointed out at the time that the movie's appeal is largely based on the fact that the lead characters have exciting and photogenic occupations: stunt man, script girl, racing-car driver.
It also helps that they are placed in a precise temporal context (from January 1st to the 22nd), and in a defined spatial area (Deauville, Paris, Monte Carlo).
Lelouch described his first romantic movie in the following way: “The subject Passion against marriage, life against death, speed against love. It is a film of emotions. The sound was more important than the words, the colors more enchanting than the scenery. Every moment was a cry, the sound of a car engine, a song.”
If the actors seem passive, it's because Lelouch's restless camera–shooting through rain, snow, ice and into sunsets–supplies the changing tones and the moods for them. Said Lelouch: “With this film I became convinced that one must not narrate but express. What the characters did not say was often more important than what they said.”
The beautiful French star Anouk Aimee (who appeared in some of Fellini's best movies) is appropriately mysterious and glamorous. The two leading men, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Pierre Barouh, are like a teen-age girl's dream boyfriends–daredevils to the world, but gentle and sweet with women.
The script was written by Lelouch and Pierre Uytterhoeven. Francis Lai's highly melodic score achieved fame on its own merits.
Premiering at the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival, A Man and a Woman later won the l966 Oscar Award for Best Foreign Picture.
Running Time: 102 minutes