Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud - Nelly and Mr. Arnaud

"Marry an old man like me and you'll have liberty, security, and austerity". Monsieur Arnaud

"Marry an old man like me and you'll have liberty, security, and austerity". Monsieur Arnaud


☆ Classic 


Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud - Nelly and Mr. Arnaud (1995) is a French May - December romance that is as beautiful and delicate as a snowflake in your hand.

Directed by Claude Sautet.

Starring Emmanuelle BéartMichel SerraultJean-Hugues Anglade and Claire Nadeau.


Nelly is a film I feel blessed for having seen. It's not often I can see, hear and feel the unspoken words and desires that love brings into an intimate relationship. Sautet weaves a beguiling, reflective look at what is hinted at by our actions. Emmanuelle and Serrault whisper life into their characters actions. The result is spellbinding in its scope and grandeur. At times I forgot I was watching a film and not eavesdropping as angels are wont to do.

I will be exploring more of Claude's films as time permits. Sautet genius lies in his closeups of his actors faces. Lingering on an actor's face for lengthy periods allows not only the actors the time to absorb, reflect and react to the moment to moment situations they are confronted with. These languid closeups allow the audience to participate internally with the visual cues they are presented. I found myself repeatedly going through the listening, absorbing, comprehending, reflecting and finally responding at the sametime as the actors were on screen.

Emmanuelle's strength as an actor is her effortless transparency that allows us to live vicariously through her characters life. Beart's openness allows her to overcome her physical beauty which like Bardot can distract from her inner artistic beauty. I'm not familiar with Emmanuelle's film oeuvre and will gradually resolve that issue.

Michel startled me everytime he allowed his anger to come through his eyes. I enjoyed watching him delight in his instrument dealing with Beart's formidable transparency and beauty. Like watching an aging boxing champion use his brains rather his brawn to outwit his younger talented future champion. Serrault strength is his fluid body language that is both graceful, elegant and worldly wise. I can see in Michel's performance that he is a man who has had a long and successful acting career and now is allowed to showcase his experiences and his instrument.

In the scene below watch how Sautet's camera lingers on each character's face, especially the judges face. Watch how you go through each of the characters phases throughout the moments in the scene. No translation is needed for this scene before a judge in a divorce proceeding.




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Trivia - Sautet died shortly after completing this film.




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Note - If you would like to view Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud to rent or buy please click on the link below the comments. It is sponsored by Google, so it is the safest and most secure way to get a copy for your film library.