Louis Malle’s second film ‘The Lovers’, made in the same year as ‘Lift to the Scaffold’ (1958), is a fitting companion piece to his feature debut and a landmark of modern French cinema and screen eroticism. It was the Special Jury Prize at Venice in 1958.
Once again, the enigmatic Jeanne Moreau is the star of Malle’s illicit drama. She plays Jeanne Tournier, whose relationship to her husband (Alain Cuny) has long lost its spark. Having taken on a lover (José Luis de Vilallonga), she soon finds his antics dull. So Jeanne is surprised by her reaction to the younger Bernard (Jean-Marc Bory), a stranger she accepts a lift from. But how will she navigate her way through this new complexity in her life?
A huge success in France when it was released, the film was also regarded as racy for its time and faced accusations of obscenity. Today, its genuine passion is still remarkable.