After bathing Deneuve in exotic colonial finery for the dull Indochine, writer/director Wargnier reserves a worse fate for Béart in this bathetic, absurdly misjudged trawl through the emotional wreckage of an army marriage. Summer 1939 brings the union of Jeanne (Béart) and youthful lieutenant Louis (Auteuil) and fleeting bliss before he spends the next five years in a German PoW camp. Release finds him returning home to a wife who's scandalised the family by having an affair, and the couple are only just reconciled before the next set of orders sends them to Berlin, where Louis joins the Allied occupation force. Jeanne finds herself irresistibly drawn to her German landlord's son Mathias (Barylli), a passion that causes intolerable tensions. Pushed hither and thither, Auteuil is right to look ill at ease, but Béart is sadly reduced to an empty repertoire of stamping mini-mélo, swaths of décolletage and sheer pouty desperation. The star chemistry (the leads split off-screen during production) is pure corrosion, while Patrick Doyle's overblown score merely expands the agony.
Une Femme française
Cast and crew