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France, 1977 (MIFF 1980, Programme 1)

Director: Fran├žois Truffaut

The Man Who Loved Women is the second film of François Truffaut to be presented at this year's festival. It demonstrates a quite different aspect of the directorial personality of this most remarkable of modern French directors.

The film centres on the life of Bertrand Morane, a well-off bachelor, who spends his leisure in the obsessive pursuit of women. At the film opening, Bertrand goes to elaborate lengths to trace woman whose legs he has admired. Thus begins a series of encounters for Bertrand which take him into dizzying collection of romances and consummations, demonstrating not only amour fou but also François Truffaut's continuing fascination with women and love.

Jan Dawson in Cinema Papers divided Truffaut's cinema into three parts - films of promiscuous experience, films of l'amour fou and films which celebrate human achievements rather than human emotions.

She concluded as follows: "... It is not so much that women (or their legs) obsess Bertrand as that they perpetually excite his curiousity. As Fabienne explains when she leaves him, it is the idea of love, not love itself, which motivates him. Behind this idea there lurks the mystery of otherness, the mystery of one sex for another, described in a variation of Renoir's film, Rules of the Game and showing, like Renoir's film, a society in which the rules of social and sexual behaviour are undergoing a striking change.

Whatever the moral of his story, Bertrand Morane, at the age of 40, is still building his life around the question put by the juvenile lead Alphonse in Day for Night - "Est-ce que les femmes sont magiques?"

And Truffaut's answer, expressed this time through Genevieve is still the same: "If women are magic, then men are magic too."

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