François works at night and loves Anne, who works during the day. This results in them never seeing one another. One morning, he sees her leaving her house with an airline-pilot. In the afternoon, instead of sleeping, he wanders the streets and recognises the pilot with another woman. He follows them to the Buttes-Chaumont park, where he meets Lucie, a curious schoolgirl. Together they follow the couple like detectives.
Paris m’a séduit.
Paris m’a trahis.
Paris m’a pris mes espoirs et mes illusions.
Je vis seule sous les toits dans ma chambre de bonne.
J’ignore mes voisins. Je ne parle à personne.
Et je me sens toujours fière de ma solitude
Lorsque je vis ma vie accaparante et rude…
'Paris m’a séduit’, words and music written by Éric Rohmer for La femme de l'aviateur
“The originality of The Aviator’s Wife does not lie in its way of taking pictures secretly, but rather in its way of making the street, with all its vagaries, the theater of a comedy and moving in it as freely as if one were in the studio.”
“Just as Anne-Laure Meury and Philippe Marlaud were leaving Buttes-Chaumont, it started to rain. I don’t know whether Éric had anticipated this (that would be entirely typical of him!) by having Anne-Laure wear a yellow raincoat…It was suggested that we interrupt the filming. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘but what if it rains for a week?’ So he made them cross the boulevard and head for a café. But the café was closed, and we couldn’t tell if it was just its closing day or if was closed for the whole vacation (it was early August). I was thinking that I would have to make connecting shots in September…But no, the next day the café was open! On the other hand, the weather was fine and the sun was shining on the cars. When the head camera operator, Bernard Lutic, gave us the signal, we went to camouflage things with bits of black fabric. I added a background of light rain, and that worked very well. For Rohmer, it was marvelous and exhilarating that a natural phenomenon had occurred in the course of the shot, and that by a miracle the cafe opened up the following ;day. A real risk had been taken! But he loved to play with chance.”
“There is a dreamlike quality in all my stories. All of them could have been dreamt by the character, at one given moment during the action. Here, for example, there are several shots where the young man falls asleep. He could really have dreamt that his girlfriend is with another man; he could really have dreamt that he followed the aviator in the street. [...] There’s a moment of absence. All the characters have a moment of absence in which the story could be re-read in another way. I always make films so that they take all their interest when one re-thinks about them, not only for the immediate impression.”
- 1. Pascal Bonitzer and Serge Daney, “Entretien avec Eric Rohmer”, Cahiers du Cinéma 323, nr. 4 (1981), 29-39.
- 2. “Interview with Georges Prat” in Éric Rohmer: A Biography, Antoine de Baecque and Noël Herpe (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018), 348.
- 3. Pascal Bonitzer and Serge Daney, “Entretien avec Eric Rohmer”, Cahiers du cinéma 323, nr. 4 (1981), 37-38.