La Peau Douce (1964)

by guestwriter

La Peau Douce [The Soft Skin] was the fifth film directed by François Truffaut. The story is a love triangle and as it happens in so many of Truffaut’s movies the fulfillment of someone’s endeavors doesn’t happen due to various complications. We have an apparently happily married couple, Pierre Lachenay (Jean Desailly) and his wife, Franca, and their little girl, Sabine. Being a successful and world-renowned publisher and lecturer in Paris, Pierre is obliged to travel a lot for conferences. When in Lisbon, Lachenay feels attracted to an airline hostess, Nicole (Françoise Dorléac, Catherine Deneuve’s elder sister, who tragically died a few years later in a car accident).

From this point on the movie takes a different turn, daringly and controversially presenting the personal tourment experienced by each player caught up in this love triangle. Beautifully shot in crystal clear black and white, La Peau Douce echoes with regret, unfulfillment and revenge. Truffaut seems to have found a recipe that combines several genres like dark comedy, melodrama, romance, suspense thriller and film noir in a movie that is far better regarded today, rightfully so, than it was at the time of its release.

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