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February 18, 2011 / Prof Cupcake.

soft skinned Truffaut

soft skin

Though an often overlooked film from French director Francois Truffaut, Soft Skin is a fantastic portrayal of one man’s journey into chaos. The film follows the life of writer and minor celebrity PIERRE LACHENAY, who meets and falls in love with a stewardess on a trip to Lisbon. Over the coming months they descend deep into a destructive relationship as both of them attempt to mold the other into what they desire. Complications arrive when Pierre’s wife FRANCA LACHENAY, begins to suspect her husband is less then faithful.


With a strong script (written both by Truffaut and Jean-Louis Richard) strong acting and great direction it is a shame that this film has not received the critical acclaim of some of Truffaut’s other works. The tone is a complex meshing of despondency with light humor and all of the disparate elements of the final product work together to ensure that the film fluidly moves between many extreme emotional registers. In particular Nelly Benedetti, (Franca) is outstanding as a woman on the edge of a breakdown. In one particular scene she manages to show an incredible of amount self assurance and strength, while also exposing her characters utter vulnerability and despondency. He slow glances, sharp movements and great diction make her a joy to watch. So much so one almost wishes the film focused more on her then jean Desailly (Pierre) who though great, does not have any of the charm his co-stars seem to have in spades.

Francoise Dorleac as Nicole, (the mistress) is simply sexual. In one memorable scene she dances around a room piling her hair on her head with such carefree and implicit sexuality one can not help but believe that the French are the most sensual and seductive men and women on earth. Her eyes portray such a desire to be loved one wants to slip within the screen and comfort her frail body.

A truly wonderful film that explores love, romance, desire and revenge, (the typical French movie fan fair) it does so with out ever seeming heavy handed or crass. Though the film quickly dissolves into cigarettes and shot gun’s, cries of despair and repressed desire there is an honest to Truffaut’s camerawork that lets us except the theatrical and the heavy handed as elements of an honest art form.





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