Strange Affair (1981 film)

Strange Affair (French: Une étrange affaire) is a 1981 French drama film directed by Pierre Granier-Deferre, and starring Michel Piccoli, Gérard Lanvin and Nathalie Baye.

Strange Affair
Directed byPierre Granier-Deferre
Produced byAlain Sarde
Written byChristopher Frank
Pierre Granier-Deferre
Jean-Marc Roberts
StarringMichel Piccoli
Gérard Lanvin
Nathalie Baye
Music byPhilippe Sarde
CinematographyÉtienne Becker
Edited byIsabel García de Herreros
Distributed byParafrance Films
Release date
  • 23 December 1981 (1981-12-23)
Running time
105 minutes


The story was adapted from the novel of Jean-Marc Roberts Affaires étrangères, which won in 1979 the Prix Renaudot.


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.



The film won the Louis Delluc Prize and the César Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and it received César nominations for best actor, best supporting actor, best director and best writing. Michel Piccoli won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival.[1]


  1. "Berlinale: 1982 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2010-11-14.
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