Un divan à New York/A Couch in New York

The psychoanalyst in his magisterial penthouse oversees a herd of neurotic male patients, he trades apartments with a poor parisienne who gives New York a bit of the French sanity.

Preminger’s The Moon Is Blue might be the primary influence among many, including Martin’s My Dear Secretary and Minnelli’s Bells Are Ringing. The filming is relatively simple and sumptuous, Akerman having made the great discovery that lighting for color cinematography can be a matter of chromatic rather than tonal gradations. She is a positive genius at directing on location in the street with an appearance of the utmost naturalness among the actors and extras in the background.

The flat, dull, neurotic pretentiousness of New York is abundantly sent up (out of Sekely’s Hollow Triumph/The Scar), and the profession of psychoanalysis as a kind of prostitution (her patients always leave cash), and the hidebound British bravura of a girl chum, and the romantic ardor of the Parisian’s many suitors at home.

Juliette Binoche and William Hurt give a fair display of the works when it comes to acting in this Hollywood style curiously misinterpreted by critics. And among the other films cited might be Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc? (or Chaplin’s A Countess from Hong Kong) for the psychoanalyst’s dog-tormenting fiancée.

The amusing consultations have even the psychoanalyst on his own couch on length, tangled in his mother’s warming hands, while the girl listens greatly moved. “He loves his mother,” she concludes with a teary eye.