Remembering Stéphane Audran’s La Femme Infidèle, and its tamer American counterpart, Unfaithful

Posted on April 9, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/remembering-stephane-audrans-la-femme-infidele-and-its-tamer-american-counterpart-unfaithful-4423949.html

There’s always a general sadness when someone from the cinema passes away, but with the French actress, Stéphane Audran, it was a little personal. The VCR era had just given way to the DVD era. Libraries with extensive foreign-film collections began to sprout in Chennai, and whenever an art-film loving friend from Bangalore used to visit, we’d rent DVDs and watch. As it turned out, an entire series of films had Audran in them, and we jokingly began to call ourselves the two-member Stéphane Audran Club. When she died on March 27, we recalled Babette’s Feast, which is probably her best-known film to international audiences (it won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1988) and also the film most easily available at the time. The “Oscar-winner” tag guaranteed brisk DVD rentals.

But this column is about an older movie, La Femme Infidèle (The Unfaithful Wife, 1969), which was one of the 23 films Audran made with her husband, the New Wave legend Claude Chabrol. The marriage ended after a while. (When asked why, Chabrol said, “Because I found myself becoming more interested in her as an actress than a wife.”) But the films are fascinatingly icy takes on material that would turn more dramatic (or even melodramatic) in the hands of an American filmmaker. We’ve spoken, in this space, about the difference in the two approaches, especially with regard to the French and American versions of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. La Femme Infidèle got a Hollywood makeover in 2002 (Unfaithful), and, again, the contrasts are a lesson in both film-making (by the director) as well as film-viewing (by the audience).

Continued at the link above.

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