Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
France, 1980. F Comme Film, StudioCanal, France 2 Cinema, Alamode Film, Christmas In July, Canal+, Cine@, France Televisions, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Ministere de la Culture et de la Communication, Filmforderungsanstalt, Region Ile-de-France, Cinémage 5, Soficinéma 8. Screenplay by Jean Gruault, based on the writings of Henri Laborit. Cinematography by Sacha Vierny. Produced by Philippe Dussart. Music by Arie Dzierlatka. Production Design by Jacques Saulnier. Costume Design by Catherine Leterrier. Film Editing by Albert Jurgenson. Academy Awards 1980. Cannes Film Festival 1980.
Leave it to experimental filmmaker Alain Resnais to not only film an interview with behavioural scientist Henri Laborit but to create a narrative out of its principles. It concerns the lives of three individuals, two men and one woman, of varying backgrounds and ambitions. Gerard Depardieu plays a strictly Catholic-raised farmboy who becomes the manager of a textile company and must face his fears when the company decides to downsize. Roger Pierre is a politician who turns to writing when his political career hits a standstill, leaves his wife and shacks up with a successful actress (Nicole Garcia) who turns out to be more than he can handle. The paths that these three characters take, and their crossing over, is a fascinating, gorgeous examination of the human condition that is very intellectual and yet never feels dry or pretentious. Resnais shows a lot of vigour and strength in his direction twenty-one years after his stunning feature debut with Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and the camerawork and performances are up to the highest standard. The screenplay is even better.