L'Amour d'une Femme
The Love of a Woman
France / Italy 1953
Mario Gabrielli, Pierre Gérin, Les Productions Cinématographiques, Film Costellazione Produzione
directed by Jean Grémillon
starring Micheline Presle, Massimo Girotti, Gaby Morlay, Paolo Stoppa, Marc Cassot, Marius David, Yvette Etiévant, Roland Lesaffre, Robert Naly, Madeleine Geoffroy, Émile Ronet, Henri Marchand, Robert Mercier, Jean Péméja, Made Siamé, France Asselin, Laurence Badie, Georges Cadix, Jacqueline Jehanneuf, Sébastien Keran, Jean Jacques Lapeyronnie, Jean-Marie Day, Jacqueline Lemaire, Julien Carette
story by Jean Grémillon, screenplay by René Fallet, Jean Grémillon, René Wheeler, music by Elsa Barraine, Henri Dutilleux
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A physician out of passion, Marie (Micheline Presle) has accepted a job
as country doctor on a rough island off the coast of Brittany - where at
first she has problems winning over the conservative locals, not only
because she's a woman in a man's job but also because they don't like
change in the first place. They only start to respect her when she saves a
little girl from what they thought her death bed.
Marie has always had
one supporter among the locals though, Germaine (Gaby Morlay), a teacher
who has been on the island for 30 plus years but now is doing her last
year before retiring to somewhere else. And Germaine sees a younger
version of herself in Marie, another unmarried woman who has come here
with high hopes and will probably end up an old spinster.
Marie meets André (Massimo Girotti), a handsome engineer who spends only
a few months on the island to supervise the building of a bridge - and it
seems almost inevitable that the two fall in love. They even talk of
marriage ... but André wants her to give up her job and become a good
housewife and mother, putting his dreams and hopes over hers, which Marie
can't accept and they separate. It's when Germaine dies though and nobody
in the village sheds so much as a tear that Marie has second thoughts and
tries to make up with André by giving in to his demands - anything better
than dying alone. But then Marie is called away to an emergency ...
rather thoughtful drama about the position (and plight) of modern women in
1950s France, but one that doesn't hammer its points home or does simple
answers to complex questions, rather it tells a compelling story at a
suitably restrained pace that still allows for many narrative surprises,
carried by a subtle directorial effort and striking cinematography that
finds beauty even in the films often mundane locations and doesn't overdo
the more impressive ones. Plus, the acting is really first rate.
you're in for a drama that stays away from being overly dramatic but finds
the compelling in restraint, then this is definitely one to watch!