The Man Who Loved Women
The Man Who Loved WomenOriginal Title: L’ homme qui aimait les femmes
Director: François Truffaut
France | French
“Women's legs are like compass points, circling the globe,' declares Bertrand Morane (Charles Denner) in François Truffaut’s romantic tragicomedy. A safety engineer by day, in his off hours Morane follows those gams through the streets of Montpellier with reckless abandon. Though hardly a Lothario, his trysts are many and short-lived, a state of affairs he never examines until he suffers the rare rejection that compels him to investigate his life by writing a memoir.
Brigitte Fossey, Leslie Caron, Nelly Borgeaud, Geneviève Fontanel, and Natalie Baye head a large supporting cast of women in this tale told mostly in flashback and related by the memoir's editor Geneviève Bigey (Fossey). Like Jean-Pierre Léaud in the Antoine Doinel films, Denner is clearly a stand-in for the director, the skein of autobiography most pronounced in Morane’s relationship with his mother (Marie-Jeanne Montfajon). Like Truffaut’s parent, Mme. Morane would prefer not to have a child, making her rejection plain as she parades around in her lingerie pretending that he is not there.
Those memories haunt Morane who longs for female companionship within self-imposed limits that preclude actual relationships. He truly does love women as the title suggests, but his feelings are complicated in a film that celebrates women even as it explicates the way they can drive a man to distraction.