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The affair between a married, middle-aged magazine editor and an entrancing young stewardess turns fatal in François Truffaut's masterwork of erotic obsession.
Once known primarily for containing the greatest performance by Françoise Dorléac, the tragically fated sister of Catherine Deneuve, La Peau douce has recently been reappraised as "one of Truffaut's best" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). Basing his story on two true tales of murder he read in his favourite magazine (not Cahiers du Cinéma, as one might expect, but the scurrilous Detective), Truffaut took a classic study of infidelity and turned it into a darkly moving study of erotic desperation. A middle-aged magazine editor (Jean Desailly) with a wife and child falls in love with an air hostess (Dorléac) on a flight to Lisbon. The spurned wife goes to extremes to reclaim her husband, whose guilt is outweighed by his passion for the woman with "the soft skin." Working with his legendary Nouvelle Vague companions, composer Georges Delerue and cinematographer Raoul Coutard, Truffaut follows this ill-starred affair and makes many references to Hitchcock, employing his silky style, as did the Master, to invest everyday events and objects with portents of mystery and violence. (The driving sequences were intended to recall those in Vertigo.) "A masterwork of erotic frenzy!" (The New Yorker).