‘Une Femme Douce / A Gentle Woman’ (1969)
Drama Love story
Director: Robert Bresson
Cast: Dominique Sanda, Guy Frangin
This heart wrenching love story has the same theme as 'Le Bonheur' (directed by Agnès Varda), I think. There has been and probably will be a gap between men and women about the concepts of love and happiness.
Many people, including me, are possessed with the idea that “happiness” means a state of inertia or having a numb mind in the normal everyday life. That's definitely true on a certain view. If you want to believe that you're “happy”, you should give up to think, give up to feel something and give up to have a question. You should repeat everyday like a robot without thinking independently. And besides, people around you force you to do so. That kind of pressure is sometimes called morals. In many cases, women are forced to become a slave of morals.
In 'Une Femme Douce', a man of perfect morals is madly in love with a woman who wants to think, to feel and to have a question. This love itself is the cause of this tragedy. It's easy to accuse her of betrayal, or selfishness, or irresponsibility. But in this world, there certainly are people who can't live without a piece of freedom.
I understand the importance of morals, society needs morals to maintain public order. But at the same time, some people need just a little bit of freedom. As for those people, freedom to be themselves is more important than anything else.
Legendary auteur Robert Bresson usually avoided resorting to sentimentalism and also in ‘Une Femme Douce’, he succeeds in capturing this dramatic plot in a realistic way. Dominique Sanda’s controlled expression of emotions seems to me to imply how far “a gentle woman” is from hope for the future.
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