Effusively romantic, visually stunning, slightly bland. A MAN AND A WOMAN has been condemned by some as an exercise in style for style's sake and by others for its lack of emotional complexity. Yet for many viewers this Claude Lelouch-directed film is as magical a love story as any
brought to the screen. Widowed film studio script girl Anne Gauthier (Aimee, lovely) and auto racer Jean-Louis Duroc (Trintignant), whose wife has committed suicide, meet at the boarding school attended by his son and her daughter. When Jean-Louis gives Anne a ride back to Paris, friendship and
then love blossom, though the specter of her much-loved late husband confuses their romance. At one point it looks like the end, but Lelouch still has a dazzling scene on the beach at Deauville up his sleeve.
Pulling out all the stops, Lelouch employs a wide variety of filmmaking techniques (swirling cameras, slow motion, switches from color to black and white, flashforwards and flashbacks) to tell his simple but effective love story. Although not the equal of the work of Lelouch's French
contemporaries, A MAN AND A WOMAN demonstrated that a wide American audience was interested in stylish films, provided their stories hit home.
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