160 Great Directors: Louis Malle

“The longer I live, the less I trust ideas, the more I trust emotions.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Body of work.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Only saw Elevator to the Gallows and Damage, but the former was astonishing (latter’s not bad).

What Did I Watch: The Lovers.

Where Does He Fit: Louis Malle’s sophomore feature, The Lovers, probably played better theatrically than it does for me. The last half hour, which led to the infamous “I don’t know how to define porn but I recognize it when I see it” quotation, is pretty great, all of Jeanne Moreau’s lonely passions from her walk in the rain boiled down to something satisfied and sensual. The deliberately dull first hour, however, is harder to get a grip on. It looks great, but Malle may have been too successful in his aims to show us a woman suffocating under the strain of being bourgeoisie. Still, enough good stuff here to make me excited for the rest.


Most Valuable Asset: Passionate desires run up against reality.
Most Excited For: Au Revoir Los Enfants.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Inconsistently nuts John Boorman.


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