26 November 2003 | DarrellN
Infidelity is such a hassle
Robert Colomb has two full-time jobs. He's known throughout the world as a globetrotting TV reporter. Less well-known but equally effortful are his exploits as a full-time philanderer.
I saw `Vivre pour Vivre' dubbed in English with the title 'Live for Life.' Some life! Robert seems to always have at least three women in his life: one mistress on her way out, one on her way in, and the cheated wife at home. It helps that Robert is a glib liar. Among his most useful lies are `I'll call you tomorrow' and `My work took longer than planned.' He spends a lot of time and money on planes, trains and hotel rooms for his succession of liaisons. You wonder when this guy will get caught with his pants down.
Some may find his life exciting, but I thought it to be tedious. His companions, including his wife, Catherine, are all attractive and desirable women. But his lifestyle is so hectic and he is so deceitful, you wonder if he's enjoying all this.
Adding to the tedium is considerable footage that doesn't further the plot. There are extended sections with no dialogue or French-only dialogue. We see documentaries of wars, torture, and troop training interspersed with the live action. When Robert's flight returns from Africa, we wait and wait for the plane to land and taxi to the airport terminal.
Annie Girardot is the standout performer in this film. Hers was the most interesting character and she played it to perfection. It was also nice to see Candice Bergen at the beginning of her career. I can't find fault with Yves Montand's performance of what was basically an amoral bum.
I enjoyed some of Claude Lelouch's novel techniques. In a hotel room scene, the camera pans around the room as Robert and his mistress argue. We catch sight of them briefly during each pass around the room. In another scene set on a sleeping car of a train, Robert is lying on the upper bunk while his wife is on the lower. Robert is giving his wife some important but distressing news, but we hear only parts of it because of the clatter of the train. I sensed that his wife was also unable to absorb every word due to the shocking nature of the news. I also liked the exciting safari scenes in Africa. The cinematography of those scenes and of those in Amsterdam was superb.
I reviewed this movie as part of a project at the Library of Congress. I've named the project FIFTY: 50 Notable Films Forgotten Within 50 Years. As best I can determine, this film, like the other forty-nine I've identified, has not been on video, telecast, or distributed in the U.S. since its original release. In my opinion, it is worthy of being made available again.