Les Amants de Louis Malle

Les Amants

Once in a while, even for someone like me who’s not a fan of love stories, it feels good to spend a few hours watching an oldie. Les Amants (The Lovers) by Louis Malle is a black and white French film made in 1958.  It was only Malle’s third feature film as a director, and his second work of fiction.

The movie, which is inspired by an 18th-century short story, is the story of Jeanne (Jeanne Moreau), an unhappy upper-class wife married to a newspaper owner in Dijon, Henri (Alain Cuny), who goes to Paris quote often to visit her amie intime Maggy (Judith Magre) and her polo player lover Raoul (José Luis de Villalonga). Curious about these two people “who seem to entertain Jeanne so much”, Henri obliges her wife, much to her annoyance, to invite Maggy and Raoul for a weekend in their provencial home.  Just when you start imagining a scene with all three and begin to feel disturbed, the movie changes its route…

It’s Friday . Maggy and Raoul will arrive at 8:00pm for dinner. Jeanne is on her way home, and her Peugeot 203  breakes down. She is rescued and driven down by a passing stranger: Bernard Dubois-Lambert (Jean-Marc Bory), a young archaeologist. Pretty distant at first, the chemistry between the two warms up as they near Dijon. Once there, Jeanne gets out of the car burst into laughters. Bernard meets with Jeanne’s husband and the guests from Paris, and is invited to join them for the night.  Bernard’s initial indifference and even “mépris” toward Jeanne and her world turns into a tale of passion within minutes.

Throughout the movie, you share a journey with Malle that is once real and imaginative. The early Bourgeois image of Jeanne slowly transforms into one of a sincere lover.  She often looks into a mirror during the movie; and that is when you see her change. Later that night, she puts down her hair, takes off her couture evening dress, and with a touch of Brahms’ sound in the background, goes in the garden in a white night-gown and pearls. There she runs into Bernard; they walk in the park under the moonlight, holding hands. Suddenly, he is the one.

In the morning, to Jeanne’s – and to our – surprise, Jeanne leaves with the stranger while her husband and lover look on. You can’t stop asking yourself where they’re going and where they can go. With the sunrise, you first feel like the dream will be dispelled momentarily and it will all end with “The End”. But to your suprise,  the car keeps going.

This is one of those movies where each and every scene is a like a picture. Every smile, every gaze in the mirror, every thought is like a shot. And you don’t need any colors. Watch the movie without the dialogues but only with Brahms’ sound, and you will figure out the script yourself…

Les Amants

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2 thoughts on “Les Amants de Louis Malle

  1. bu blogun sonuna koydugun resmin aynisi yeni bi filmde inspire edildi. tabii kesinlikle bilmiorm bu filmden mi inspired ama brothers bloom die bi filmde rachel weisz in ayni pozisyonda bi hali var. o kalp seklinde bi aynaya bakio ve biz arkadas goruorz. filmi yapan rian johson, brick filmini yapan, o yuzden bilmiom bu filmi gordumu ama baya ayni!

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