Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: L’homme qui aimait les femmes
France, 1977. Les Films du Carrosse. Screenplay by Francois Truffaut, Michel Fermaud, Suzanne Schiffman. Cinematography by Nestor Almendros. Produced by Marcel Berbert, Francois Truffaut. Music by Patrice Mestral. Production Design by Jean-Pierre Kohut-Svelko. Costume Design by Monique Dury. Film Editing by Martine Barraqué. National Board of Review Awards 1977.
Charles Denner plays a Montpellier company employee who has a major weakness for the female set. There is nothing more irresistible to him than a gorgeous pair of legs walking down the street, to the point that spotting a beautiful woman without even seeing her face makes him to go all the craziest lengths to find her and have her for himself. His voracious appetite won’t allow him to settle on just one, so throughout this delightful souffle of a film he spends his time bedding a large number of ladies, indulging in the delights of rampant sexuality and, at points, paying the price in various ways for his indulgence as well. When we meet one particular woman from his past (played with charming gravity by a radiant Leslie Caron), we find out where his behaviour comes from, and the film veers from Playboy silliness to bitter melancholy. Francois Truffaut’s romantic comedy is a bit too long but always intelligent and sharply observed. At the same time that he does not judge his lead character for his uncontrollable desires, he also points out the loneliness and sorrow that lie behind his every conquest, and because he is such a masterful filmmaker manages to ride the line without overindulging in one side or the other. Nathalie Baye has a lovely cameo, while Jean Dasté (once the young hero of L’Atalante) appears as Denner’s physician.