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  • jotix10024 December 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • This is Regis Wargnier's memories about his mother. We can see him as a boy, sharing moments of joy and blues. Emmanulle Beart was criticized for playing the part of Jeanne, a woman that could not remain faithful to her husband, always in the war. The loneliness was the reason of the unfaithfulness. Daniel Auteuil is unforgettable as the patient husband always forgiving the wife's sins.

    Beautiful...sensitive and highly recommended
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Imagine for a moment that you're director, Régis Wargnier. You've made a thoroughly wonderful (if a bit slow) movie "Indochine" in 1992 and, of course, you've seen Claude Berri's "Jean de Florette" and "Manon des Sources". You know that Daniel Auteuil and Emmanualle Beart have worked wonderfully together before. Now, what shall I do?

    I know, I'll put Daniel and Emmanuelle back together in a romantic story with some nice scenery thrown in and hope it works again. Wrong!!

    Louis (Auteuil) spent almost the entire movie going off to fight in some theatre of war that was never quite clear, always it seemed to help the frogs maintain colonial control over some poor far off group of peasants. We all know how successful they were during WWII, during the campaign in Vietnam and later in Algeria. Poor old Louis was never destined for success was he? Nonetheless, it appears that he progressed through the French ranks.

    His wife, Jeanne, (Beart), seems to have spent her whole life in and out of love with Louis or any of a dozen other lovers it appears. She seems to have suffered from a life-long inability to stay upright in the presence of any man she even vaguely fancied.

    "Une Femme Francaise" may not be the very worst movie I've ever seen but, trust me, it was bloody close. I really wanted to like this movie after having watched and loved JdF and MdS many, many times but this load of old merde was way beyond the tolerance of my inbuilt "merde-omer".

    The script was riddled with clichés, utterly predictable and some of the scenes that were supposed to be serious or romantic or both were just laughably awful. The acting, even from Auteuil and Beart, was wooden and quite unconvincing.

    I have rarely been so incredibly disappointed by what might have been a good movie. This was just terrible tripe and there's no way I will ever watch it again. I am glad I got the DVD for next to nothing.

    JMV
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although based on the Director's memories of his own mother by giving it the title he has it's hard to figure out if he is 1) disillusioned with all French women and is 2) insinuating that French women as a sub-gender are, to a woman, incapable of fidelity and/or whores. The logical question we, as viewers, ask ourselves is why didn't Auteuil leave the army after World War 11, given that his wife had been unfaithful whilst he was a POW. Instead, he forgives her and promptly dashes off to another war leaving her to do the same thing again. Okay, if it's a true story he doesn't want to fictionalize if for the sake of logic and presumably he never asked his father that question. These carps to one side this remains a well-written and well-acted film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A FRENCH WOMAN was advertised as the story of a woman drifting between desire and convention on a journey of self discovery but to me it was an attempt by the Director/ Narrator to glorify and exonerate his mother's (=main protagonist) intrinsic sluttishness and huge egos leading to multiple infidelities. Compared to the other great French woman in the movie A VERY LONG ENGEGEMENT, who, against all odds, embarks on a relentless, painful, long and often frustrating ordeal to find out the truth about her supposedly dead boyfriend, the protagonist in this movie would be seen as nothing worse than a sluttish whore.

    First, after her husband comes back from the war, he correctly says to her," we are not heroes and you are a whore". Then she says "take me wherever you go, I have so much love to give you". After her husband forgives her and accepts her excuse for having multiple affairs with numerous men (instead of one affair with one man if she is a woman who believes in true love and not lust and sex) as "to give me the strength to keep going on", she goes on and bears the infant twins her husband does not father and she breaks her promise and has an affair with a German industrialist in Berlin.

    Then when the German lover tells her that he wants a family with kids and does not want to wait anymore for her and just becomes her sexual lover, she becomes cool and tells her son, "He is a nobody" when her son asks her who the man is.

    Then after the lover leaves her, she has multiple affairs with other men again until her death.

    I am sure if she leaves her husband and marries the German boyfriend, she will have affairs with other men again. As the saying goes, "once a whore, always a whore".

    So I think the movie should glorify the poor husband's greatness in repeatedly forgiving her, taking her back despite her numerous infidelities, treating the twins like his own, staying in the marriage for the sake of their children and telling friends that the big scar at the back of his back is from a shot in the war with the Vietnamese enemy instead of from his own wife, doing that in an attempt to save her German lover from being bashed to death by him.

    I am sure few men in the world can be as forgiving as her husband to a constantly unfaithful wife.

    At the end of the movie, the narrator states, "That day, Loius wondered whether it was love that killed Jeanne." I would call it lust and sluttishness not love and I feel sympathy for Louis and admire his greatness as a husband and father and I feel nothing but disgust and sadness for the Director's efforts to portray the egoistic sluttish woman's infidelities as self discovery.
  • mifunesamurai16 February 2003
    A man goes to battle and kills other men while his woman stays home and makes love to other men. Wargnier's memories of his mother who starved for love and passion while her husband served in French colonies at war, is art soap with two of the greatest contemporary French actors making it worth the while.
  • Régis Wargnier loves to take his characters all around the planet(see also "Indochine" or "man to man" in the pygmies land;probably because of his own childhood).He also loves Douglas Sirk :no less than two extracts of his movies are included:"battle hymn" (1957)the moral of which was rather dubious ,and the great "written on the wind " (brief extract where Dorothy Malone "dances her dad" to death )Emmanuelle even imitates the American star ,in a blood red dress.Funny,I had been thinking of Sirk before his extracts were shown ;Jeanne could be a Sirkian heroine and the screenplay is primarily a melodrama ;the genre can produce masterpieces (Sirk,Stahl,Minnelli) but it takes a lot a madness,something more than this academic directing.The movie looks like a blueprint for miniseries the episodes of which being " meeting at the station" "the soldier has come home" " lost in a devastated land" " back in Paris and daddy's gone away again" etc .All in all,the film does not equal the sum of its numerous parts .With a husband whose spouse is more the army than Emmanuelle Béart ,who could blame this "sinner" ?Best idea is the romantic ending but it's botched ! See it for the two principals ,two of the best actors of today.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Everyone seems to think that the wife was either a whore and the husband a hero or she was driven to it by loneliness (and the husband is still a hero)...I didn't see it either way, both are too black and white.

    For one we never really saw her loneliness I didn't think, plus she kept cheating on him even when he was back sometimes IIRC. Also she was out of control, and unable to commit one way or the other to either her husband or her lover.

    I thought the film was about two people with psychoemotional problems who stayed together simply because they were too afraid to separate...the husband's service seemed parasuicidal for example, and his family seemed to realize how unstable she was but he stuck with her (loyalty is not always a virtue).

    If the film was meant to be autobiographical then perhaps the director was stuck with certain plot developments? Or maybe his point was that the first experience of emotional deprivation was so scarring that it created a life-long pattern that would have not been there otherwise? But I think if she died because of a broken heart, even metaphorically, it meant from the get-go that she was torn between "desire and duty", i.e. a marriage to a respectable and appropriate partner and the person her heart and body desired. A little unclear but that is par for the course for French films in my experience, they are meant to provoke thought and discussion (unlike most American ones). Also I did not understand the title, unless the director was saying this is the emotional reality for most French women, for that generation or in general.

    P.S. I was also glad there was no nudity in the film. It would have been a cheap attempt at interjecting eroticism into the film IMO, such things can be inferred implicitly by adults.