The Woman Next Door

The Woman Next Door (French: La Femme d'à côté) is a 1981 French romantic drama film directed by François Truffaut. Reminiscent of the medieval legend of Tristan and Iseult but set among young middle-class people in a provincial city, it tells the story of a fatal romance between a loving husband (Gérard Depardieu) and the attractive woman (Fanny Ardant) who moves in next door. The last of Truffaut's serious films, being followed by the more light-hearted Vivement dimanche!, it was the 39th highest-grossing film of the year, with a total of 1,087,600 admissions in France.[2]

The Woman Next Door
Theatrical release poster
FrenchLa Femme d'à côté
Directed byFrançois Truffaut
Written by
Produced by
  • Armand Barbault
  • François Truffaut
CinematographyWilliam Lubtchansky
Edited byMartine Barraqué
Music byGeorges Delerue
Distributed byGaumont
Release date
  • 30 September 1981 (1981-09-30) (France)
Running time
106 minutes
Box office1,101,537 admissions (France)[1]


Bernard lives happily with his wife Arlette and young son Thomas in a village outside Grenoble. One day a married couple, Philippe and Mathilde, move into the house next door. Bernard and Mathilde are shocked at meeting each other because years before, when both single, they had a stormy affair that ended painfully. At first Bernard avoids Mathilde, until a chance meeting in a supermarket reawakens long-buried passions and soon, while openly good neighbours, in secret they pursue an affair. Though both find the strain of living their normal family and working lives unbearable, it is Bernard who cracks first. After publicly revealing his violent passion for Mathilde at a garden party, he keeps away from her and the two households try to get on with their lives. But the rejected Mathilde then cracks and, after publicly collapsing at the tennis club, is hospitalised with depression. When she is released, she finds that to get far away from Bernard her husband has moved them out of the village. One night Bernard is woken by a banging shutter on the empty house next door and gets up to investigate. In the house, he spots Mathilde in the darkness. After they have made love on the bare floor, taking a gun out of her handbag she shoots first him and then herself.



  1. ^ Box Office information for Francois Truffaut films at Box Office Story
  2. ^ La Femme d'à côté at JP's Box-Office.
  3. ^ Allen, Don. Finally Truffaut. New York: Beaufort Books. 1985. ISBN 0-8253-0335-4. OCLC 12613514. pp. 239.

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