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THE FRAGILE MAN

France, 1981 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Claire Clouzot

This is the first feature film by Claire Clouzot, formerly a film critic who has contributed to Cinema, Ecran and Sight and Sound, as well as writing for various French newspapers.

Her first film is set in the subediting room of a major Parisian daily and is concerned with the life of Henri, a divorcee with a small daughter, and Cecile, who lives in a panel van. Henri's social life takes place mostly in the bars near his office and centres mostly on a series of casual affairs. Cecile resists his approaches and the gradually evolving relationship devolves largely around the difficulties Henri has in committing himself beyond something casual and uncaring.

This is played with considerable subtlety and insight, a step beyond the usually soft approach of French cinema in dealing with these matters. It represents a mature debut film from a director who may go on to contribute much more to French film.

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