Louis Malle (born October 30, 1932, Thumeries, France—died November 23, 1995, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.) French motion-picture director whose eclectic films were noted for their emotional realism and stylistic simplicity.
Malle’s wealthy family resisted his early interest in film but allowed him to enter the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris in 1950. After studying at the institute, he worked as an assistant to filmmaker Robert Bresson and codirected the documentary Le Monde du silence (1956; The Silent World) with underwater explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Malle’s first feature film, Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (1957; Frantic), was a psychological thriller. His second, Les Amants (1958; The Lovers), was a commercial success and established Malle and its star, Jeanne Moreau, in the film industry. The film’s lyrical love scenes, tracked with exquisite timing, exhibit Malle’s typically bold and uninhibited treatment of sensual themes. Social alienation… read more
As with many French New Wave films, I spent much of the running time going back and forth on whether I admired or was annoyed by it. It certainly has a unique style - with it's narration and disjointed storytelling. But the core of the film is hollow, Brigitte Bardot and Marcello Mastroianni develop zero chemistry. Stylish and Interesting, but unsatisfying.
It was frustrating to see the collaboration between one of my favorite directors and my favorite actor fall as flat as this one did. However, the print I watched was horribly dubbed into English, so I look forward to revisiting this with the original French; until then, 2 stars from me. Bad chemistry between Mastroianni and Bardot, but the last 30 minutes or so in Italy was beautifully shot and worth watching.