Claude Sautet: The Things of Life

A Simple Story

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A Simple Story
Une histoire simple | Claude Sautet, 1978
France/West Germany | French with English subtitles | Format: 35mm | 107 minutes

Not on DVD!

In this exquisite character study—a 1980 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film—Romy Schneider (in the last of her five Sautet collaborations) stars as Marie, an industrial designer nearing 40 who, as the film begins, tells her unstable, alcoholic lover (Claude Brasseur) that she has aborted his child and is leaving him. Shortly thereafter, Marie crosses paths with her ex-husband Georges (Bruno Cremer) and finds herself falling back into his arms, no matter that he himself is in a new relationship. The premise suggests high melodrama, yet Sautet’s approach is anything but, devoting generous attention to everything from the lives of Marie’s close friends to the working conditions in Marie’s office, until the love triangle becomes just one part of a rich tapestry of the ups and downs of everyday life. Present in nearly every scene, Schneider gives one of her most deeply felt performances, a mere four years before her tragic death at age 43. 

“Schneider has been in a lot of films since then, some of them big-budget American extravaganzas, but her return to France and the films of Claude Sautet has been a celebration of her increasing depth and ripening beauty. She glows in this film. There are moments when she stretches, smiles to herself, flirts with a lover, listens quietly to her son, consoles a friend—all so that we can see this character through her person rather than through the plot.” —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The print being screened of A Simple Story is the best available; however, please note that the image is a little faded. 

Series: Claude Sautet: The Things of Life

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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