Maurice Pialat's 1980 film is a study in erotic revolution; in it, sex becomes a force that shatters not only class allegiances and social patterns but even the order represented by traditional narrative structure. Isabelle Huppert is a model middle-class wife who leaves her possessive husband (Guy Marchand) for street tough Gerard Depardieu; he lives off her money, but Pialat artfully blurs the line between exploiter and exploited—it's hard to say who is using whom. The film, shot largely in handheld long takes, addresses the question of possession—of how much our society, and even the stories we tell, depends on the notion of one person's “right” to another. It's one of the most original French films of the period, and, I think, a great one. In French with subtitles. 110 min.
Director: Maurice Pialat
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Guy Marchand and Humbert Balsan