Claude Lelouch’s 1966 film A Man and a Woman remains the North Star of romantic French movies. It also remains his obit-leader, since Lelouch has done nothing in the past 42 years to approximate that runaway success.
Not that he hasn’t tried. He has directed more than 30 films in the interim, including a fascinating 1995 version of Les Misérables, set during World War II and starring French film icon Jean-Paul Belmondo. But Lelouch seems to have been relegated to the second tier of French directors. He has not accepted this reshelving with a shrug. He believes that critics continue to resent his success with A Man and a Woman.