The Woman Next Door | Chicago Reader

The Woman Next Door

Certainly the coldest film ever made about l'amour fou, Francois Truffaut's 1981 production fails to satisfy emotionally but contains some of his most creative direction post-Jules and Jim. It's a very studied, very formal work in which a tale of fatal attraction (betweeen Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant) becomes a study of the contrasting implications of long takes and crosscutting, stiff compositions and fluid camera movements. Throughout, Truffaut insists on the physical barriers between his lovers—the space that separates their adjacent homes, the windows through which they look longingly at each other, and ultimately the film frame itself, with its narrowness and claustrophobia. In the end, the film is not about an attraction between two people, but about the love of the spectator for the image—the perverse transactions between the audience and the screen.

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