Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

L'Amour Fou (1969)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

L'Amour Fou (1969, Fr.) (aka Mad Love)

In director Jacques Rivette's tiring and challenging four hour-long romantic drama, a French New Wave film about the disintegrating relationship of a married couple during a stage production over a period of about two and a half weeks - partly reminiscent of Cassavettes' Faces (1968) and Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris (1972):

  • the opening (and closing) images: a white, bare and empty stage, where a modern but sparse version of a Greek tragedy, Racine's Andromaque was being rehearsed (the rehearsals were shot in grainy, hand-held 16mm with a documentary style, by TV director Andre Labarthe and cameraman Etienne Becker as Themselves), while the rest of the film was more formally 35 mm
  • the two protagonists in a harrowing, self-destructive pairing: actress Claire (Bulle Ogier) and her ineffectual Parisian director-husband Sebastien (Jean-Pierre Kalfon); Claire was originally cast as Hermione but soon quit (she protested the presence of the documentary movie crew filming the rehearsals for television) and remained at home during production (where boredom slowly morphed into insanity)
"Mad Love" - Claire with Sebastien
  • the "mad love" of the frustrated Claire and psychotic Sebastien after a number of days; instances of their cycle of recurring craziness included:
    (1) the sequence of Sebastien cutting off his clothes with scissors as Claire watched
    (2) the growing paranoia of Claire about Sebastien's fidelity with her cast replacement (Sebastien's brunette ex-mistress Marta (Josée Destoop)), and while straddling him and watching him sleeping in bed, also threatening to pierce his sleeping eyeball with a needle
    (3) Sebastien's and Claire's dismanteling orgy rampage in their own apartment - including drawing onto their wallpaper and then ripping it off the wall, and using an axe to break into the neighbor's apartment to have sex on the couch
Apartment Orgy of Destruction

A White and Bare Empty Stage

Sebastien Cutting Clothes

Claire Threatening to Pierce Sebastien's Eyeball While He Slept


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