A Man and A Woman, from 1966, was directed by Claude Lelouch and stars Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant.
The film won 13 international awards, including two Academy Awards , two Golden Globes and the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Anouk Aimee and director Lelouch were nominated for Oscars but didn’t win.
Lelouch was also the screenwriter and cinematographer for the film and he is still directing today. Look for him as he pulls a Hitchcock in the movie and makes a cameo appearance holding a camera behind Jean-Louis at the Monte Carlo race.
The movie is notable for its lush photography, with frequent segues between full color, black-and-white , and sepia-toned shots, and for its memorable musical score by Francis Lai.
For years, film critics debated the symbolism of the mixed film stocks, but Lelouch admitted that the primary reason was that he was simply running out of money and black and white film stock was much cheaper than color.
So he mostly filmed the outdoor sequences in color, and the indoor scenes in black and white. He was a firm believer in improvised dialogue and the climactic scene at a train station was not scripted at the time of shooting.
Lelouch had decided on the ending but it wasn’t in the script at the time of shooting, so no one knew how the film was going to end. The look of surprise on Aimée’s face is genuine.
A sequel, A Man and A Woman: 20 Years Later, was made in 1986 but didn’t receive the same acclaim as tonight’s original. But if you want to know how the characters end up, you can rent or buy the sequel.
Anouk Aimée ’s birth name was Francoise Dreyfus, and her acting career began at age 14. She was walking down a street in Paris with her mother when a director stopped her and asked if she would like to be in a movie.
She adopted her stage name, Anouk, after playing a character with that name in her debut film in 1946. She is still acting today and has appeared in over 80 films and TV shows, almost exclusively in her native France.
Jean-Louis Trintignant started theatrical acting in 1950 and wasn’t considered very talented until director Roger Vadim discovered him and put him in his first movie. Soon after that, iIn1956, the press was hounding him because of rumors of an affair with Brigitte Bardot , his partner in the film ...And God Created Woman.
To get away from the paparazzi, he took a somewhat drastic step and joined the army. It was another ten years before he had his first big success with tonight’s film. Like Aimee, he is still acting and has appeared in more than 100 movies. Almost 50 years after this film was made, you can see him in the Oscar-winning foreign film, Amour.
The Monte Carlo Rally is a road rally held on highways that are used by normal traffic. The starting points differ and each route is carefully mapped out between starting point and the end in Monte Carlo. Timing is predetermined and there are check points along the way to determine whether or not a car reaches the checkpoint at its optimum time, i.e., not too early and not too late. The emphasis isn’t on speed, but on accurate timing, navigation, and vehicle reliability.
The car Jean-Louis drives in the Monte Carlo rally is a 1966 Mustang - all of his cars were Mustangs of one sort or another, an early example of product placement to help finance a film. The1966 Monte Carlo Rally event was the most controversial in the history of the Rally.
The first four finishers were excluded for having single filament bulbs in their headlights, instead of double-filament bulbs. In all, ten cars were disqualified and the controversy that followed damaged the credibility of the event - it was called the Monte Carlo Fiasco.
The rally is still being run and now takes place along the French Riviera in the Principality of Monaco and southeast France. And if you’ve forgotten it, most of you will recognize the theme music, it’s still one of the most easily recognized in film.