For a Woman

French writer-director Diane Kurys (Entre Nous, C’est la Vie) specializes in domestic dramas that function as both autobiography and autocritique, employing a cool, objective style that allows her to regard her life as though it were someone else’s. This one takes place just before Kurys’s birth, in the immediate postwar period, and considers the uneasy relationship between her father, an expatriate Russian Jew active in the French Communist Party, and her mother, an apolitical French woman whom the father saved from a concentration camp during the war. Aside from an unnecessary narrative frame that depicts Kurys (played by Sylvie Tetsud) discovering the story in the 1980s, this is engrossing stuff, not only in the remarkable details of the parents’ lives, but in the psychological nuance with which Kurys imagines them. In French with subtitles.