The Man Who Loved Women (1977, Francois Truffaut)

Made thirty years ago, opened at the New York Film Festival when I was two weeks old. Director Truffaut died in the 80’s, cancer got star Denner in the 90’s, AIDS got DP Almendros in the 90’s, co-writer Suzanne Schiffman (Out 1 colllaborator) died in 2001, aged cameo-appearers Jean Daste and Roger Leenhardt are dead, but most of the actresses are alive except for Nelly Borgeaud, who died only recently.

Movie seems a teeny bit dated. Charles Denner is a man who works in a wind tunnel, lives alone, and loves women. He wanders around loving women for a while, finally gets the idea to write a book about how much he loves women and all the women who he loves. His book gets published, but due to a woman-love-related car accident, our man doesn’t live much longer. Movie opens and closes on his funeral and the long line of lovely women attending:
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Our guy Bertrand at his wind tunnel – Charles Denner of Chabrol’s Bluebeard, Costa-Gavras’s Z and two or three other Truffauts.
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Our guy’s mom in flashback. She used to walk around in her underwear ignoring her son and dating lots of men. Could this have somehow contributed to our man’s uninhibited love of women? Marie-Jeanne Montfajon, no other movie credits, alas.
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Mistaken identity girl whom Bertrand chases down at the start of the movie, to set the whole woman-loving theme: Nathalie Baye (Le petit lieutenant, Truffaut’s Green Room and Day For Night, Godard’s Slow Motion, Chabrol’s Flower of Evil)
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After the whole mistaken identity thing, Bertrand takes home the rental car girl as a consolation prize. Sabine Glaser hardly appeared in anything after this.
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Lingerie store woman (Geneviève Fontanel) has always been flirty with Bertrand, so he asks her out to dinner and is shot down. She only likes younger men.
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Former waitress (Nella Barbier) who loses her job while Bertrand is around, so he gets her hired as his company’s receptionist. Never makes a play for her, for some reason.
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Wakeup-call girl: Aurore. Bert has to convince her to go out with him without ever seeing each other first. Doesn’t work.
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The typist who transcribes Bertrand’s novel, until she quits for moral reasons.
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The publisher who stands up for Bertrand’s book, and later lies down for Bertrand: Brigitte Fossey (the little girl in Forbidden Games 25 years earlier)
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Sad girl on the stairs who gets cheered up by Bertrand. At first seems like a scene to gain our not-always-totally-likeable lead man some sympathy, but later we revisit it as Bert edits his novel to tweak details. Rather than making himself look better, he changes the color of this girl’s dress.
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Ex-girlfriend who dumped Bertrand years ago: Valérie Bonnier, of Madame Claude (a Just Jaeckin call-girl movie with Klaus Kinski) and Spermula (a “sci-fi/horror sex comedy” with Udo Kier).
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Another ex-girlfriend who he runs into at a restaurant: Leslie Caron, star of Lili, Gigi, An American In Paris, Is Paris Burning?
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Married woman who has a not-so-secret long-term affair with Bertrand, attempts to kill her husband, goes to prison, is released a few years later, and shows up mysteriously in Bert’s apartment for a menage-a-trois: Nelly Borgeaud of Truffaut’s Mississippi Mermaid and Resnais’s Mon oncle d’Amerique
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The last pair of legs our man ever chased.
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Special appearance by Jean Daste:
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Katy and I both kinda liked it!

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