Jeanne meets Louis as he is preparing to go to his brother's wedding, but fate intervenes as his father suffers a heart attack and the ceremony is postponed. A year later a double wedding takes place, one in which Jeanne and Louis are married in the ceremony together with his brother and bride. It is the outset of WWII in France. Louis, a military man, must go to the front and he is taken prisoner to a camp. While Jeanne awaits his return, she begins an affair with Henri, a comrade of Louis. It is clear Jeanne unhappiness is assuaged easily.
After the war, Louis is posted to Berlin, where living conditions are poor. Bringing Jeanne along, they are housed with an impoverished industrialist and his son, Mattias. Jeanne is clearly attracted by the German man and they begin an affair that will put her marriage in jeopardy. Louis, finding out about her infidelity, even questions the paternity of his children, a doubt that will consume him forever.
The director, Regis Wargnier, supposedly based the film on his own mother's life. It is curious, and at the same time, courageous for anyone to examine a life of a woman that showed no respect for the man she married and for her own family. Yet, the story is quite hard to take because of the nature of a lady that shows no redeeming qualities to speak of. The screenplay was written by the director and Alain LeHenry. As DBDumontiel points out in his commentary, Mr. Wargnier seems to be influenced by Douglas Sirk. His Jeanne is an ambivalent woman whose own libido takes over the better part of her.
Emmanuelle Beart, a ravishing creature, shows an understanding for the woman she is playing. Daniel Auteuil is Louis the deceived husband that always returned to the woman that had no regard for him, or her family. Gabriel Barylli appears as Mattias, the German lover. He makes an impression as the tormented man passionately in love with another man's wife. The only reason for watching the film is because of the presence of Daniel Auteuil and Emmanuelle Beart.
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