La Femme Infidèle aka The Unfaithful Wife, written and directed by Claude Chabrol
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Sensual, beautiful film.
It is on the New York Times’ List of Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made:
Michel Bouquet is excellent as Charles Desvallees.
And Stephane Audran plays Helene, The Unfaithful Wife.
In the beginning, the couple seems happy…
- Well, reasonably so
Charles and Helene have a son.
In fact, he talks with irony about a colleague infatuated with the secretary.
Charles tells his wife what the story is:
- Paul told me about the secretary
- Yes, she is attractive
- Yes, but he says that there is more promise than delivery
The young girl is sexy.
It is the time of the very short, miniskirts.
Charles meets with a private investigator.
I was surprised to hear him say:
- I want you to take my wife’s case
- I want to know what she does, who she meets, everything
And indeed, the private detective returns with answers:
- I found the person
- Tell me
- They meet three times a week
- They spend about two hours at his apartment
- I have here the photo, the address
- How much do I owe you?
- 500 francs
Sounds like a large sum, I thought it means about $ 100, but a few decades, maybe fifty years ago, the sum could be a few thousand dollars in today’s money.
Charles does not say a word to his wife.
Well, not on the lover’s subject.
But he acts upon the information.
One day, he knocks at the door, at the address given by the private investigator.
And this dialogue, more or less, followed:
- Do I know you?
- I am Helene’s husband
- Do not worry, my wife and I have an open relationship
- I did not know that
- In fact, you are special, for she goes out with men-even if she is not an easy woman- but after seeing them twice or three times she stops, with you she keeps it going…
- Perhaps you should move, she does not like living in the country side…but it is wonderful to have such an open relationship…my ex-wife was terrible, terrible…
And they go on like that, with the husband putting up an act and the lover believing him and going on with this game.
They even go around the little apartment, after the host invites the guest, they see the bedroom and a gift given by Charles to Helene, who in turn gave it to her lover…
The husband says he does not feel well and then suddenly, the unexpected takes place…
This is where I stop and add that this is an exceptional film.
8 out of 10*