Friday 23 October 2020



Claude Sautet



“Claude Sautet’s cinema is an intimate one, and like the perfume on a lover’s skin it is ephemeral and fragile, and yet, traces of it remain with you, lingering like an afterimage.”

(Janice Tong, Senses of Cinema)

If the Australian perception of French cinema seems particularly skewed, it is surely because we do not receive the full stereophonic effect of this rich and diverse output.... 

Claude Sautet is one of the major French directors who gets lost in this sorry shuffle. His films ...are not the least bit strident or aggressive, and that sets him well apart from the post Nouvelle Vague generations. By the same token, the small-scale, jewel-like intimacy of his chamber dramas – almost always concerned with average, middle class people – is pitched at a far less sensational or spectacular level than most French blockbusters of the Cyrano de Bergerac type. 

(Adrian Martin, online review at


Between 1955 and 1995 Claude Sautet was a mainstay of high quality French cinema. His fourteen feature films constitute a Balzacian chronicle of the lives and manners of the French middle classes in a world where love and emotion are frequently difficult. 


From November 15 the Ritz Cinemas Randwick are presenting seven programs of Sautet’s work, a panorama of high quality French cinema ranging across a quarter century of the director’s life. By the end you will find it hard not to agree with David Stratton on the SBS Movie Show when he said “I love Sautet’s films almost unreservedly. He’s never made a film which I didn’t really love." 



Nov 15 at 4.00 pm - The Things of Life( Les Choses de la Vie, 1970)

Nov 22 at 4.00 pm -Max and the Junkmen (Max et les Ferrailleurs,1971)

Nov 29 at 4.00 pm - César and Rosalie (César et Rosalie,1972)

Dec 6 at 4.00 pm - Vincent, François, Paul and the Others (Vincent, François, Paul et les Autres,1974)

Dec 13 at 4.00 pm - A Bad Son (Un Mauvais Fils,1980)

Dec 19 at 4.00 pm - A Few Days with Me (Quelques Jours Avec Moi,1988)

Dec 20 at 4.00 pm - Nelly and Mr. Arnaud (Nelly et M. Arnaud,1995)


Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider, The Things of Life

The Things of Life (Les Choses De La Vie, France, 1970, 89 mi

Sautet’s first stylish romantic melodrama, and first collaboration with Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider, established his international reputation. The film begins with the aftermath of a violent car crash along a rural motorway. As Piccoli, lies in a semi-conscious stupor amidst the burning wreckage of his MG, his life flashes before his eyes—chronicling his relationship with two very different women: his dutiful, long-suffering wife (Léa Massari) and his adoring, free-spirited mistress (Schneider). A masterful portrait of a man literally and figuratively caught at life’s crossroads. A fabulous score by Philippe Sarde which you can hear a sample of if you click here 



Romy Schneider, Michel Piccoli, Max and the Junkmen

Max and the Junkmen (Max et les Ferrailleurs, France, 1971, 107 minutes)

Sautet’s elegant and sophisticated crime drama stars the great Michel Piccoli as Max, a Paris detective hellbent on justice at any cost after watching one too many wily criminals slip through his fingers. Max decides to lure a gang into committing a bank robbery ... so that he can then catch them red-handed. So Max poses as a wealthy banker and begins a series of illicit rendezvous with the high-class prostitute Lily (Romy Schneider). But there’s one thing the cold-hearted Max doesn’t factor into his diabolical scheme: the possibility of falling in love. A taut thriller with the heart of a great melodrama.



Yves Montand, Romy Schneider, Cesar and Rosalie

César and Rosalie (César et Rosalie, France,1972, 107 minutes)

The divorced Rosalie (Romy Schneider) is attending a family wedding with her new lover, the wealthy scrap metal merchant César (Yves Montand), when she encounters her ex-boyfriend David (Sami Frey), a cartoonist newly back from America. At the reception, David tells César that he still loves Rosalie, and César can see that the feeling isn’t entirely one-sided. Sautet’s magnificent ménage-à-trois César and Rosalie, in which these two very different men compete for the fickle affections of their impulsive lady love, only to slowly form their own grudging friendship…. 

 “An enchanting story of what love is all about. The enchantment of Sautet’s film is his acknowledgment that it is in the daily living rather than the nightly bedding that meaningful relationships exist.”—Judith Crist, New York Magazine


Gerard Depardieu, Yves Montand, Michel Piccoli
Serge Reggiani, Vincent, Francois, Paul and the Others

Vincent, François, Paul and the Others (Vincent, François, Paul et les Autres, France, 1974, 118 minutes)

Sautet recruited three of the leading French stars of their generation—Yves Montand, Michel Piccoli and Serge Reggiani—for this wise, beautifully acted, enormously moving portrait of a trio of lifelong friends at the crossroads of middle age. All three men try to vicariously relive their youth through Vincent’s protégé (Gérard Depardieu), an aspiring professional boxer. Sautet weaves us through these men’s lives as myriad crises erupt, concessions are made, and time marches on. Itranks among Sautet’s finest contemplations of the human condition.


Brigitte Fossey, Patrick Dewaere, A Bad Son

A Bad Son (Un Mauvais Fils, France,1980, 110 minutes)

A key Sautet theme—the fraught relationships between adult children and their parents—comes to the fore in this heartbreaking family drama. In one of the great, nervousend-of-his-tether performances that typified his tragically brief career, the extraordinary Patrick Dewaere stars as Bruno, a young man returning to Paris after serving a prison sentence. Now clean and determined to rebuild his life, Bruno takes up residence with his widower father and begins drifting through a series of menial jobs. and contact with the beautiful Catherine (Brigitte Fossey). Steeped in the working-class milieu of Sautet’s own childhood. 


Sandrine Bonnaire, Daniel Auteuil, A Few Days with Me

A Few Days With Me (Quelques Jours Avec Moi, France,1988, 131 minutes)

Sautet was lured by a simple proposition: to make a film with actors, screenplay collaborators and technicians he had never worked with before. It was to be the beginning of a late-career renaissance for the director. Daniel Auteuil stars as Martial Pasquier. Newly released from a psychiatric hospital, Martial is dispatched to the sleepy provincial town of Limoges to perform a routine check-up on one of the family stores. Then he takes up with Francine, a semi-literate housemaid (Sandrine Bonnaire). The story turns from gentle class satire to full-blown farce. Among Sautet’s personal favorites. 


Michel Serrault, Emmanuelle Beart, Nellly and M. Arnaud

Nelly and Mr. Arnaud (Nelly et M. Arnaud,1995, 106 mi

Sautet’s profoundly moving final feature is a tale of unrequited love and the male gaze. Emmanuelle Béart is the beautiful object of an emotionally withdrawn man’s curiously expressed affections. Nelly is a freelance literary editor struggling to make ends meet for her and her unemployed husband in the recession economy of the early 1990s. She meets the septuagenarian businessman Pierre Arnaud (Michel Serrault), who offers to pay her debts. At first suspicious of the old man’s motives, they form a bond that is at once more than mere friendship and less than physical intimacy. 


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