Louis Coline assists the head of advertising of a department store in decline. He has little to do, but seems content with his marriage to Nina, his visits to his mother and grandmother, and poker games with friends.
When new boss Bernard Malair arrives to turn the store around, Louis fears for his job; but Bernard, with his numbers man Paul and his factotum François, invites Louis into an inner circle of long hours of work, nightclubs, and dinners with an androgynous vamp. Nina objects, but Louis cannot say no to Bernard’s demands, no matter how personal. In desperation, Nina leaves Louis, but that drives him further into Bernard’s orbit. Can anything break this spell?
Strange Affair (French: Une étrange affaire) is a 1981 French drama film directed by Pierre Granier-Deferre, and starring Michel Piccoli, Gérard Lanvin, Nathalie Baye, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Jean-François Balmer, Pierre Michaël, Madeleine Cheminat, and Dominique Blanchar.
About the Story
Louis Coline (Gérard Lanvin) is an executive assistant in a declining Paris department store. While he is not ambitious and has little to do, he is content with his wife Nina (Nathalie Baye), visits to his mother and grandmother and nights out with his friends playing poker. However, the manipulative Bertrand Malair (Michel Piccoli) becomes the store’s new manager, and arrives to shake up the company. Louis fears for his job, but Bertrand draws him into his inner circle of confidants.
Bertrand starts to control Louis’ life, while Louis is afraid of losing his privileged position. To maintain it Louis works overtime, accepts Bertrand’s invitations to nightclubs and dinners with an androgynous woman, and places his house at Bertrand’s disposal. Nina sees through her husband’s behaviour and objects, but Louis cannot refuse Bertrand’s demands, and she is unable to make him see how much his personality has changed. Desperate, she leaves her husband, which only draws him further under Bertrand’s control. Bertrand soon disappears as mysteriously as he came, and Louis finds himself unable to revert to his previous self.
Strange Affair – Une étrange affaire (1981)
Directed by: Pierre Granier-Deferre
Starring: Michel Piccoli, Gérard Lanvin, Nathalie Baye, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Jean-François Balmer, Pierre Michaël, Madeleine Cheminat, Dominique Blanchar
Screenplay by: Christopher Frank, Pierre Granier-Deferre
Production Design by: Dominique André
Cinematography by: Étienne Becker
Film Editing by: Isabel García de Herreros
Costume Design by: Fanny Jakubowicz
Music by: Philippe Sarde
Distributed by: Parafrance Films
Release Date: December 23, 1981