“I’m one of the most cheated-on women on the Côte d’Azur”, Suzanne discloses to her estate agent while looking for a new villa in the windswept French Riviera. Suzanne is in her 40s, a mother of three, a bourgeois trophy wife, elegant yet dishevelled by melancholy. As her lover, a charismatic journalist, bursts into her life with promises of excitement and a new lifestyle, Suzanne feels simultaneously hypocritical and protected by her status. The possibilities of following him makes her have to confront her self-image. Meanwhile, her husband Jean – wherever he may be – has promised to call between five and six o’clock.
Based on the play by Marguerite Duras (1968), this work by classic French director Benoit Jacquot takes a look at women’s social role during the course of one day (like Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway from 1925). Influences from vaudeville and Racine come together in this conceptual chamber drama that forms the backdrop for actress Charlotte Gainsbourg to become the mirror image of the enigmatic Suzanne. Jacquot has long been interested in the female psyche and by psychoanalysis. He considers a collaboration with Duras herself in the 1970s to have been a formative experience, and he has also filmed a series of documentary lectures for his mentor Jacques Lacan.