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All it takes is a glimpse of a mystery woman clad in blue to make Pierre (Michel Piccoli) lose it. This celebrity music critic can't enjoy life anymore-his affairs with several adoring women, especially Aurelie (Lea Massari); his outings with friends. His all-consuming search for the woman takes over. Aurelie helps him out, hoping he'll realize that what he really needs is right in front of him. But Pierre is driven by an absolute dream-a romantic fata morgana that French writer-director Michel Deville makes all the more ironic by having the woman in blue look just like Aurelie.
But for an incurable dreamer, a living breathing woman with all her imperfections can't compete with a fantasy. When a rare clue leads him to a brothel, Pierre refuses to look for her there. That would simply be too prosaic. After a failed attempt to rekindle his love for Aurelie-the two spend an idyllic weekend in the country-Pierre speculates that the woman in blue may well be a premonition of his own death.
Deville's playfully fluid camera and melancholic music of Shubert and Bartok infuses The Woman in Blue with gentle sadness and bittersweet humor. Rather than express a "contemporary" malaise, the filmmaker reveals a sensibility that seems to belong to a bygone era. With 31 films in forty years, Deville is considered a major talent in his native France, but he is little known here. The Woman In Blue, available for the first time on DVD, is a good introduction to his work.