A Man and A Woman: A Disjointed Glance at Finding Love Again

“If forced to choose, Giacometti once said, he would rescue a cat from a burning building before a Rembrandt.” This is one of of the central points presented in the classic, Academy Award-winning film, A Man and a Woman–that to choose love over art (or one’s work) is always the more rewarding decision. Pierre Uytterhoeven’s and director Claude Lelouch’s script, which won for Best Original Screenplay the year after it came out in 1966, explores this notion with delicate subtlety, via the lens of being a widower.

Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne Gauthier (Anouk Aimée)  are two windowers who take a shine to one another
Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne Gauthier (Anouk Aimée) are two widowers who take a shine to one another
As a script supervisor, Anne Gauthier (Anouk Aimée), met her husband, a stuntman, while on the set of one of the movies she was working on. The two married and had a daughter, happy for a time until her husband gets into a life-ending car accident that Anne saw happen while on the set. In the aftermath of this trauma, Anne continues to work in Paris while spending time with her daughter in Deauville, also in Northern France, who attends school there. It is after missing the last train for Paris one day that Anne encounters Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a fellow widower whose son also attends the school, who offers to give her a ride back since he must return there for work as well.
After winning a Golden Globe for her performance
After winning a Golden Globe for her performance
The two share an inexplicable rapport on the drive back, one that is quickly explained by the fact that they both soon realize they’ve been victims of fate’s cruelty. Jean-Louis, a race car driver (because apparently that’s Anne’s type) ultimately confesses that his wife committed suicide after he got in a race car accident that put him in critical condition, prompting her to think that he was going to die. The tragedy surrounding the circumstances of their spouse’s deaths invokes an immediate connection between Anne and Jean-Louis, inciting the two to spend further time together, even introducing their children to one another.

Their time is cut short for a week during which time Jean-Louis preps for the Monte Carlo Rally in the south of France. Surprised at how much she misses Jean-Louis, Anne sends him a telegram after he wins the race declaring her love for him. Excited and impressed by her boldness, Jean-Louis rushes back to Paris to profess the same sentiment. But their reunion proves somewhat passionless after Anne finds herself feeling as though she’s betrayed her husband.
Bold declarations
Bold declarations
While Anne is quick to dismiss the spark she’s found so that she can continue to remain faithful to the memory of her husband, Jean-Louis isn’t quite so eager to let Anne out of his clutches, proving that perhaps the 60s and early 70s were the Golden Age of romance in cinema.