Jeanne Moreau, L'Immortelle

The Lovers

Louis Malle

A landmark in French cinema and in screen eroticism, Louis Malle's second film with Jeanne Moreau unleashed a furor in the US, where its release was delayed by a famous trial that ended up in the Supreme Court. Swanning through a succession of chic salons and swank soirées, Moreau plays Jeanne, the bored, shallow wife of a provincial newspaper publisher (granitic Alain Cuny), whose best friend Maggy (Judith Magre) is urging her to embark on an affair with society swain Raoul (José Luis de Vilallonga). Suspecting (correctly) that her frequent forays to Paris are to meet her suitor, Jeanne's husband insists that she invite Maggy and Raoul up to their place for the weekend — but the trap he plans to spring backfires when Jeanne instead becomes intrigued by the young student (Jean-Marc Bory) who gives her a lift home when her car breaks down. Awash in Brahms, Malle's coolly elegant celebration of libidinal freedom culminates in a surprise that is deeply satisfying.

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