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Film / A Man and a Woman

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A Man and a Woman is a 1966 film from France, directed by Claude Lelouch, starring Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Anne (Aimee) and Jean-Louis (Trintignant) are both single parents with one child each. Anne is a script supervisor for the movies and Jean-Louis is a race car driver. Both of them had spouses who died unexpectedly. Anne's husband Pierre was a stunt man who was killed in a movie set accident while she was watching. Jean-Louis's wife Valerie killed herself after he was nearly killed in a wreck on the race track.

Being single parents with careers, they both send their small children to boarding school—the same boarding school, in fact. One day when Anne misses the train back to Paris she winds up hitching a ride with Jean-Louis. They are instantly drawn to each other, but the memories of their lost spouses stand in the way of love.

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Tropes:

  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Jean-Louis and Anne are attracted to each other. Finally, Anne declares her love for Jean-Louis. Jean-Louis goes through all of France to meet her, but the memory of her lost husband prevents Anne from building a new relationship with Jean-Louis, so she leaves him: she takes a train back to Paris. Nevertheless, Jean-Louis decides to drive to the train station where she must arrive to meet her again, and he embraces her on the platform.
  • Creator Cameo: Claude Lelouch can be seen in one shot at the Monte Carlo race, behind Jean-Louis, holding a camera.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The movie shifts back and forth from color to black and white for no apparent reason, and no pattern except that most of the outdoor scenes are in color and most of the indoor scenes are in black and white. Claude Lelouch later admitted that he was initially shooting the movie in black and white because he had No Budget, but after an American distributor gave him $40,000 for color film stock he shot as much as he could in color. So it is a subversion of the trope, because there is no purpose for the colour switches.
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  • Driven to Suicide: A flashback reveals that Jean-Louis's wife had a mental breakdown and killed herself after an accident at Le Mans left Jean-Louis in a coma.
  • Flashback: Multiple flashbacks of Anne and Jean-Louis's lives with their spouses.
  • Imagine Spot: When Anne asks what Jean-Louis does he says vaguely that he has an unusual job that pays a lot of money. She promptly imagines him as a pimp collecting cash from his whores.
  • Inner Monologue: We hear Jean-Louis's thoughts as he drives back from Monte-Carlo to Paris.
  • Love Confession: Anne sends Jean-Louis a telegram, which reads "I love you." As soon as he receives it, Jean-Louis drives back to Paris.
  • Meadow Run: It's a beach, not a meadow. But Jean-Louis and Anne do this after his long drive from Monte Carlo to Paris to Deauville to meet her.
  • Meet Cute: Jean-Louis giving Anne a ride home after she misses her train.
  • The Noun and the Noun: Well, A Noun and a Noun.
  • Orbital Shot: The final shot of the movie as Anne and Jean-Louis embrace on the train platform.
  • Pimp Duds: How Anne imagines Jean-Louis in her imagine spot, complete with silly pimp hat.
  • Race for Your Love: Inverted. Instead of preventing Anne from leaving, Jean-Louis races to catch Anne's train when it arrives in Paris.
  • Revealing Hug: The obvious pleasure Anne is experiencing during sex with Jean-Louis gives way to a more troubled expression as she remembers sex with her late husband.
  • Romancing the Widow: Both Jean-Louis's and Anne's spouses are dead, so it is both played straight and GenderInverted.
  • Rom Com Job: Race car driver and movie script supervisor, hm?
  • Set Behind the Scenes: Anne is a script supervisor. Her work is showed in the Flashbacks.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Anne wears one in a flashback when returning home with Pierre.
  • Title Drop: The radio notes that "a man and a woman were killed" in a car wreck.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: They share a melancholy goodbye at the Deauville train station, after she tells him she's breaking up with him because of the memory of her late husband. Then Jean-Louis hops in his car and zips back to Paris to meet Anne's train.
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