I liked the film ‘Un Homme et Une Femme’ so much as a young man that I went to see it 7 times. The simple love story, directed by Claude Lelouch, was a sensation when it first came out and won 2 Oscars and the Palme d’Or at Cannes, but is forgotten now. It’s French through and through and all those years ago I thought the two stars, Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant impossibly romantic.
I hadn’t given the film a thought for years and the only reason it came to mind is that the soundtrack is used as a motif for the passing of the years by Julian Barnes in ‘The Sense of an Ending’. The record, Un Homme et Une Femme, was the sexiest song of the Sixties; its composer, Frances Lai, went on to write Love Story, which was the sickliest song of the Seventies.
In ‘The Sense of an Ending’ the protagonist kicks over the traces of his past and bitterly regrets doing so. Reading the book rekindled my memories of the film but I wondered whether it would be wise to watch it again and risk shattering those memories. I needn’t have worried. It’s funny and happy and sad and everything I’d remembered. And, as this video clip shows, it also stars the most joyous dog.