La Peau Douce

Those whose knowledge of French nouvelle vague linchpin François Truffaut begins with ‘The 400 Blows’ and ends with ‘Jules and Jim’ should seek out this steely 1964 study in the cruel mechanics of illicit love. Like one of Eric Rohmer’s ‘Moral Tales’ recast as a smouldering thriller, the film is marked by an intense, unromantic rigour absent in the director’s early work. It traces paunchy, middle-aged publisher and lecturer Pierre Lachenay (Jean Desailly) as he heedlessly ditches his loving wife and child so he can romp around the countryside with a coquettish air hostess (Françoise Dorléac). It’s conservative, as Truffaut views Pierre’s actions as immoral. But it’s more concerned with the logistics of love, asking whether the time and energy one must exhaust for a little something on the side is worth it.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday February 4 2011
Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: François Truffaut
Screenwriter: François Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard
Cast: Jean Desailly
Françoise Dorléac
Nelly Bénédetti
Daniel Ceccaldi
Laurence Badie
Jean Lanier
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