Femme d'à côté, La (1981)

Original Title : Femme d'à côté, La
Director : François Truffaut
Writer : Jean Aurel
Suzanne Schiffman
François Truffaut
Genre : Drama
Country : France
Language : French
Producer : François Truffaut
Music : Georges Delerue
Photography : William Lubtchansky
IMDB ID : 0082370
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poster for "Femme d'à côté, La" by François Truffaut (1981)
Femme d'à côté, La (1981) - François Truffaut


Gérard Depardieu Bernard Coudray
Fanny Ardant Mathilde Bauchard
Henri Garcin Philippe Bauchard
Michèle Baumgartner Arlette Coudray
Roger Van Hool Roland Duguet
Véronique Silver Madame Odile Jouve
Philippe Morier-Genoud Doctor
Nicole Vauthier Thomas Coudray


Madame Jouve, the narrator, tells the tragedy of Bernard and Mathilde. Bernard was living happily with his wife Arlette and his son Thomas. One day, a couple, Philippe and Mathilde Bauchard, moves into the next house. This is the accidental reunion of Bernard and Mathilde, who had a passionate love affair years ago. The relationship revives... A somber study of human feelings.


Can't touch this -- Truffaut topped himself here. An outstanding love story, with an astonishing, riveting performance from Fanny Ardant. My own love affair with Truffaut began as a teenager when I first saw "Jules and Jim." But "La femme d'a cote" moved me most directly and most powerfully of all his great work. Is love "toujours triste"? No, not always sad, now that I'm in my forties, I'm much less a romantic. And love may be of many varieties. But deep romantic love, I do believe, rarely appears on screen as honestly portrayed as here. "The Woman Next Door" presents us with the power, the physical impact of love, the way it "takes our breath" away and so much more. Truffaut so often focuses on love, and usually more positively and in a greater variety of ways than other great directors. But if you want funny, fresh young love, see Truffaut's "Soft Skin" or even "Don't Shoot the Piano Player. His films which are more about infatuation versus love, i.e., the original (Truffaut's film, not the American one with Bert Reynolds)"The Man Who Loved Women" or even the Hitchcock tribute "The Bride Wore Black" while "darker" in tone -- all these remain quite funny, generally light in tone, and quite lively in pace and style. In "The Woman Next Door," more tragic, melancholic moments appear -- it's more akin to the highly autobiographical "The 400 Blows," which tells of Truffaut's difficult adolescence. Yet it has its lighter moments, too. My own response was a strong interest in the drama, the suspense, and astonishment at the beauty of the story, the acting, and the many moments of cinematic genius. Truffaut did, personally, fall in love with Ardant, the lead actress here, they married, so just how much autobiography went into this tale and film -- I don't know. "Next Door" represents Truffaut in a mature phase of his life and career, one which shot off like a rocket and just kept climbing. Ardant went on to act well in many other films, even in several after Truffaut's death. In her starring role here, she made her debut to my acquaintance. She stunned me, I thought I knew Truffaut's work well enough -- after ten to twelve years of trying to see everything available by him, reading about him, and so forth. Yet this film knocked me out, all the same. Superb.