Suspend disbelief here and there, and you’ll enjoy the Francois Truffaut flick The Woman Next Door (1981) which, though it isn’t saying much, was seen by more Americans than any other foreign film in ’81.

Again, as in other Truffaut movies, there is amatory passion.  Adele H. never quite committed adultery, however; Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant do.  Woman is about the monstrousness of temptation.  Depardieu’s first mistake is not informing his nice wife that before he married he once had a love affair with new neighbor Ardant; he keeps it a secret.  Naturally he soon learns that he and Ardant can’t be just friends.  The tragedy which ensues is especially jarring in a movie this typically lyrical and basically simple, plainly lacking in gravity.  Film buff  Truffaut insisted on his achievements being serious but not grave, which is why there is something of Hitchcock in this tragedy.  But whereas I am not convinced the estimable Hitchcock was an artist, I believe Truffaut was.

(In French with English subtitles)

Fanny Ardant

Cover of Fanny Ardant