Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud (1995) | Review

Lonely Hearts: Sautet’s Elegant Final Film on Passionate Restraint

Winning Best Director as well as Best Actor for Michel Serrault at the 1995 Cesars, Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud would stand as the final film of director Claude Sautet. The achingly rendered central relationship makes for a curious case study in the deep emotional undercurrents exchanged between two people unable to properly communicate their actual feelings, and as is typical of many Sautet films, it’s a master class of finely attenuated performances. It was the second collaboration of Sautet and the beautiful Emmanuelle Beart (had he lived, she would have taken the muse role occupied by Romy Schneider in his earlier filmography), following 1991’s A Heart in Winter, a title many champion as the director’s masterpiece, and the one that tends to overshadow their second outing.

Nelly (Beart) is in a loveless marriage and has racked up considerable debt supporting her worthless,

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