It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Despite its great beauty, Claude Lelouch's "A Man and a Woman" never quite leveled with itself. It pretended to be an honest film about a mature love relationship. But what about the Mustang, and that stunt man, and those Hollywood clichés, and Lelouch's embarrassingly slick photography?
Lelouch is essentially a stunt man himself, and his films go for effects rather than meaning. They make a great show of "significance," but at their heart is only a vast, beautifully photographed vacuum. This is particularly clear in "Live for Life," which has all of the faults of "A Man and a Women" and none of the virtues and is an ugly and corrupt film which pretends to be beautiful and ethical.
The story involves a weather-beaten TV news producer (Yves Montand), his wife (Annie Girardot) and his on-again, off-again mistress (Candice Bergen). Montand and Girardot seem to have a stable marriage after 10 years! Both are intelligent, sensitive people; they share each other's interests, and they do all the other things Joyce Brothers recommends. But Montand grows discontented, sets back his odometer and falls in love with Candice.
The rest of the movie is more or less given over to mutual deceptions among these people. Yves lies to Annie, Candice lies to Yves, Annie lies to Candice and Lelouch lies to us. He achieves this by taking a tawdry little domestic tragicomedy (which could have been a good tawdry little domestic tragicomedy) and propping it up with film clips from Vietnam, shots of Nazi demonstrations, and other trademarks designed to make small events look significant.
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