by guest writer
La femme d’à côté (The Woman Next Door, 1981) is one example of François Truffaut’s late work that resembles so much Hitchcock’s approach on film-making. The narration and the opening scene is clearly a Nouvelle Vague one, but as the introduction is made, we step into a small French town to get familiar with Bernard Coudray (Gérard Depardieu), his wife and child. The apparent calm seems to step towards tension when Mathilde Bauchard (Fanny Ardant) moves next door with her husband. There seems to be a secret past between Bernard and Mathilde, one with a low paste and a fast burning desire.
Truffaut’s attraction to the psychological thriller is deep rooted in his beginning as a director and much more in his passion for the work of the master of suspense. The difference between him and his idol lies in the manner in which he chooses to rather show than make a subtle or obvious suggestion. The sexual suppression plays out as the main theme of the film. How does an old relationship stands the test of time although in a totally different circumstance? La femme d’à côté is yet another example on what obsession may become if sense is left out. Georges Delerue’s music and William Lubtchansky’s cinematography complete the director vision on how a thriller should look like.
photo: publicity still