Louis Malle unveiled the natural beauty of Jeanne Moreau in his breakthrough, Elevator to the Gallows. With his follow-up, the scandalous smash The Lovers (Les amants), he made her a star once and for all. A deeply felt and luxuriously filmed fairy tale for grown-ups, perched on the edge between classical and New Wave cinemas, The Lovers presents Moreau as a restless bourgeois wife whose eye wanders from both her husband and her lover to an attractive passing stranger (Jean-Marc Bory). Thanks to its frank sexuality, The Lovers caused quite a stir, being censored and attacked for obscenity around the world. If today its shock has worn off, its glistening sensuality and seductive storytelling haven’t aged a day. —The Criterion Collection
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
Malle usurps Antonioni’s ennui crown, or answers it for the New Wave in Les amants - Moreau his Vitti, the Mastroiannis and Delons conflictingly aplenty. Yet Malle frames his subjects with not so much coldness or disdain but as languished, empty souls while outwardly genial - the emotions tipping to and fro, while slowly subverting the hollow notion of liberty through infidelity with, more humanely, liberty through liberty; la liberté de l’amour. Gorgeous cinematography hardly stymies its lovestruck gaze, and devolution to uncertain felicity.
Ah Luis Malle, you almost got me to take that beautiful bourgeois housewife played by Jeanne Moreau & her boredom for more than it was worth. As are most of Louis Malle’s works, The Lovers was wildly stylish & very crisply shot, but it lacked a great deal of sincerity & (in the least) melancholy that could have suited the leading lady well. Full Review > http://liveforfilm.tumblr.com/post/39147760084/the-lovers-1958
Tales of neglected housewives finding love in unexpected places have had resiliency in Europe. More than forty years after France gave us Les Amants, about the pretty young wife (Jeanne Moreau) of… read review
You always come across this meaningless phrase: this film was shocking, as if that meant anything. A film that is steeped in the past, a pastness where lines like “all her shame and restraint fell… read review