One of Jean Grémillon’s greatest talents as a director was his ability to handle intricate human relationships with honesty and subtlety. The Love of a Woman / L’amour d’une femme is a typically stirring tale of a woman who falls in love against her better judgement, after arriving on the Brittany island of Ouessant to take over the responsibilities of the community’s retiring doctor.
Marie Prieur (Micheline Presle) arrives by boat, and from day one everyone’s a little perplexed by the prospect of a young woman taking care of the islander’s medical needs. Her first challenge is to overcome their hesitation and prove herself capable in the eyes of the locals. It’s when she receives a prank call that she meets André (Massimo Girotti), an Italian engineer working on the island. Their tumultuous relationship, and the implications it has for Marie’s way of life, is the film’s meat and bones. Grémillon uses his background in documentary to develop a sense of place for the characters to inhabit and navigate.