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3.8
940 Ratings

The Soft Skin

La Peau Douce

Directed by François Truffaut
France, Portugal, 1964
Drama, Romance

Synopsis

Pierre Lachenay is a well-known publisher and lecturer, married to Franca and father of Sabine. When he meets air hostess Nicole, the two start a love affair. As much as he tries to hide the affair to his wife, Pierre cannot stand staying away from Nicole.

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The Soft Skin Directed by François Truffaut
The camera unfurls this narrative much more than any dialogue could begin to register. When Pierre writes a declaration of love to Nicole and then spots her, Truffaut cuts from her face to an insert of the note, then out to Paul’s face, all before panning down to him crumpling up the note. With words, it would take minutes to describe what is registered by the camera in a matter of seconds.
March 17, 2015
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Viewed as a genre experiment, The Soft Skin doesn’t really work. Truffaut directs it like a thriller from start to finish—the opening sequence treats Pierre’s concern about missing his flight to Lisbon as if he’s a secret agent in danger of jeopardizing the country’s security—yet the climactic threat of violence still feels like it arrives out of nowhere, reeking of artistic desperation… At the same time, Truffaut’s natural penchant for lyricism keeps asserting itself in arresting ways.
March 11, 2015
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Truffaut wagers that Pierre is interesting because the character’s very dilemmas align closely with the director’s own. After all, Truffaut’s actual apartment doubles for Pierre’s in the film. Nicole is framed as an object of beauty and desire for Pierre, and Truffaut legitimizes these desires by entertaining them as cinematic in the first place.
March 10, 2015
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