L’homme qui aimait les femmes (1977)

“L’homme qui aimait les femmes” (1977)

homme

IMDb

narrative details

This is one of the most interesting conceptions of a man who spent all his career and life questioning the very conception of cinema and what it meant in every moment. After the adventure of french new wave of the 60’s, Truffaut matured and, to me, he started producing his more focused work. He basically produced some films which were essays on cinema, as well as autobiographical depictions of his thoughts.

So, we have a film about storytelling. A womanizer who writes the story of his life. Every woman in his life is, herself, a story. So the pleasure of being involved with a woman maps the will Truffaut has to tell a story. The fact that Morane writes all the stories, and makes one single big form (a book) with them enhances this.

The woman editor has an important role. She is the key character that Truffaut places above Morane, and she annotates and comments on the whole structure. Her remarks on Morane’s book and personality may as well be taken as commentaries on the very film, and of its director. She is self-reference, she is Truffaut commenting on himself, thus adding reflexivity to the film. That’s why she observes that Morane, the writer, doesn’t reject the “details” others wouldn’t notice, and she literally says that he is basically a storyteller. Also, she is the one who remarks the fact that Morane’s funeral is the perfect ending to the story. I saw all this as reflexive annotations on the very structure of the film and, more generally, on the nature of Truffaut’s cinema. He was through all his life a storyteller, and above any pleasure he took in making a film, there was the pleasure of narrating. Also he took a special interest in filming details, something i think he took from Hitchcock. The hand dialing phone numbers, or turning the pages in the address book, that sort of thing.

Morane’s funeral, which opens and closes the film, gathers all the women around him. It is, like the editor (the second narrator) told, a praising of Morane’s life, the recognizing of his qualities, the celebration of his life (cinema).

This and “La nuit américaine” are so far the best built films by Truffaut that i saw. Many times i think that Truffaut (and Godard!) has spent to much time around things which were not that important, like school kids discussing football teams. But in certain points, he made important contributions to the evolving of cinematic narrative. This is one of them.

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb

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