NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: The Story of Adele H. (1975)

Distributed by United Artists in director and co-writer François Truffaut’s native France, this was put out by New World in the U.S. It’s a love story about Adèle Hugo (Isabelle Adjani), the second daughter of Victor Hugo, and also was a love story for Truffaut, who fell for his twenty-year-old leading lady. She turned him down; dude, I saw Possession and yeah, I get it. I totally get it.

Also, by love story, I mean that Adèle spends the entire movie pining for Lieutenant Albert Pinson (Bruce Robinson), first in innocuous ways and then in ways that ruin his life and then in ways that grasp at straws, such as trying to have him hypnotized into loving her and attempting to connect with her dead by drowning sister from beyond the grave to aid her in winning over the military man.

She says at one point that she will walk across the ocean to be with her lover. She has built him up into near mythic levels of nobility and romantic power. Surely, were their relationship to ever be consummated, he could never live up to the man that he is inside her head. Again, I totally get it. While never consumed with the mania that she displays — the film ends with her wandering the streets of a foreign country, unable to even recognize Pinson but still in love with the man she conjured years before — I am guilty of falling in love with the people I have believed people to be, want them to be, need them to be and unfairly wondering why they can never live up to my near-impossible romantic notions. It’s a horrible thing to be in love with someone who does not exist as the person you know them as.orrible thing to be in love with someone who does not exist as the person you know them as.

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