Madame de... (The Earrings of Madame de...). 1953. France. Directed by Max Ophuls. 99 min.
Screenplay by Ophuls, Marcel Achard, Annette Wademant, from the novella by Louise de Vilmorin. With Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer, Vittorio De Sica. Ophuls’s familiar symmetrical structure begins with an unnamed aristocratic woman who sells a pair of earrings gifted to her by her husband, setting into motion a chain reaction. Ophuls knew aristocratic woman of letters Louise de Vilmorin and attended the salon she hosted, along with Jean Cocteau, Anaïs Nin, Léo Ferré, and others. Yet Ophuls elevates her story (presumed to be autobiographical in part), portraying true love and loss in what could be cast as a series of affairs and aristocratic indulgences. Considered by auteur theorist Andrew Sarris to be the greatest film ever made, Madame de… is a dazzling display of Ophuls’s use of camerawork to create great beauty. In French; English subtitles.