La Peau douce (The Soft Skin) (1964)
Francois Truffaut directed this simple tale of revenge and adultery which features an exceptional musical score by Georges Delerue. The story concerns a love affair between successful literary magazine editor Pierre Lachenay (Jean Desailly) and alluring airline stewardess, Nicole Chomette (Francoise Dorleac). They meet on a flight to Lisbon, where Pierre is scheduled to deliver a lecture. When he returns to Paris, they continue their affair, but find it is difficult to set up their clandestine trysts, so Pierre arranges a lecture trip to Riems, where they can be together. In Riems however, Pierre finds it difficult to keep the affair a secret from his lecture sponsors. Upon his return to Paris, his wife Franca (Nelly Benedetti), suspicious her husband is having an affair, quarrels with Pierre, who leaves her and asks Nicole to marry him. Nicole refuses his proposition and Pierre attempts to reconcile with his wife. But Nelly, with a gun in her bag, is en route to surprise Pierre at his favorite restaurant for a final confrontation. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for La Peau douce (The Soft Skin)
Francois Truffaut's "The Soft Skin" is being revived at the very moment when it seems uncannily prophetic
François Truffaut's fourth feature, The Soft Skin, has never gotten much respect -- even though many people (myself included) regard it as one of his best.
Truffaut does show that he can make a solidly carpentered film like anybody else.
It's a curiously crude and hackneyed drama to come from Mr. Truffaut, but this way of using his actors and working his camera is up to his style.
Not a total success perhaps, but still a striking and sensitive effort.
Truffaut has directed the film more like a thriller than a melodrama...
A mesmerizing morality play detailing the machinations of adultery and their deadly consequences.
It's stunningly assured, suspenseful, emotionally truthful and tough.
The influence of Alfred Hitchcock is readily apparent in this darkly comic and wonderfully observed tale of femmes fatales and crimes passionels.
No cheery triangle, but rather the director's rejection of his own Jules and Jim image as a Pez-dispenser of cushy lyricism
Infidelity is the theme of François Truffaut's passion-filled tale, which triggers the unraveling of everything in the life of successful scholar and lecturer Pierre Lachenay, compellingly played by stage actor Jean Desailly.
simple narrative penetrates the complications arising from adultery with far more discernment than any film I can recall
There is a compelling desperation about La Peau Douce that gives its moments of hope or intimacy a piercingly moving intensity, while the briskness of its pace never allows it to wallow in abjection.
A darkly comic delicacy that goes straight to the heart of its messed up characters, well deserving of its subsequent rehabilitation as a New Wave gem.
Tuffaut handles fairy tale material with his trademark gentle touch.
Hardly a mousier affair has been committed to screen, but this doesn't stop the middle-aged Pierre ending his marriage and offering the bemused stewardess his eternal love.
Audience Reviews for La Peau douce (The Soft Skin)
"The Soft Skin" is a beautifully shot tragedy, featuring nuanced performances from Jean Desailly and Françoise Dorléac plus Georges Delerue's exquisite score (melancholy flute everywhere). But did such a simple story really need to be stretched to 113 minutes? This film could have been 20 minutes shorter, easy.
Desailly plays a celebrity author who's much in demand on the lecture circuit. He has a wife and a young daughter. He meets stewardess Dorleac during a flight to Lisbon. They begin a loving affair, but we know it's only a matter of time before his wife finds out and raises a ruckus.
Really, that's just about the whole plot. "The Soft Skin" has only three substantial characters and a standard story, yet somehow it extends to nearly two hours. Blame this on too many belabored depictions of eating, drinking, driving, phone calls, hotel check-ins and trivial conversation. And yet despite the leisurely pace, the script communicates almost nothing about why the lovers are so drawn to each other. We know that he's famous and she's gorgeous, and that such surface traits could create a mutual attraction. Anything else?
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