Just as his own marriage was breaking up, he filmed (in his family’s apartment) the story of Pierre (Jean Desailly), a married middle-aged editor and internationally celebrated author who, on a lecture tour in Lisbon, meets Nicole (Françoise Dorléac), a young blond stewardess with whom he embarks on a furious affair. ... It’s as if Truffaut, who was then working on his epic book of interviews with Hitchcock, saw his own real-life passions (including one for Dorléac herself) merge with those of the older man and experimented, onscreen, with a Hitchcock-style movie in which the artist himself played the lead—and suffered the consequences.
Thank Brody (and his unnamed "friend in Nashville," a mysterious figure Pith regulars might recognize) for the cool Belcourt shout-out this week. And thank The Belcourt for a too-rare glimpse of Dorléac, the older sister of Catherine Deneuve, whose career was cut tragically short by a car accident in 1967 at age 25. In the meantime, here's Lance Conzett in this week's Scene:
At first glance, The Soft Skin looks like a bizarre turn for director François Truffaut. Everything about it clashes with his first three films (particularly his 1962 masterpiece Jules and Jim, which immediately preceded it) — the bourgeois protagonist, the melodramatic tone, the slow-moving pace. But that was all deliberate. The Soft Skin is Truffaut’s most cutting condemnation of France’s public intellectual elite, portraying Pierre Lachenay, a Parisian literary editor embroiled in an adulterous affair with a stewardess, as disconnected and self-destructive. Lachenay bumbles his way through the affair, retaining his sense of entitlement while managing to look like the dumbest guy in the room. A box-office failure when first released, The Soft Skin is now heralded as one of Truffaut’s finest films, even without the kinetic charm of Jeanne Moreau.