The Middle of the World

Alain Tanner's 1974 film is an attempt to reconcile the emotional amplitude of a classic movie romance with the ideological demands of a post-'68 consciousness. Philippe Leotard is an aspiring politician, married to one woman but in love with an Italian waitress. When he offers to “do the right things”—to leave his wife, abandon his career, and run off with the waitress—she breaks off the relationship. Romantic love, for her, is a revolution that changes nothing. The film is a delicate blend of intelligent analysis and graceful lyricism, filled with Tanner's habitual precision and compassion.

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