Few directors used the jump cut to more potent effect than Maurice Pialat; his films hurtle from one volatile scene to the next, skipping over anything that might suggest emotional stability in the characters’ lives. This 1972 drama—his second theatrical release and an unlikely commercial success in France—depicts the on-again-off-again relationship between a brutish aspiring filmmaker (Jean Yanne) and his younger mistress (Marlene Jobert), with many of the details drawn from Pialat’s own life. The film is infuriating by design, focusing almost exclusively on the couple’s arguments and reconciliations, yet it never feels predictable, thanks to the acute characterization and intimate, seemingly spontaneous performances. Though often painful to watch, this is an edifying portrait of codependence mistaken for love. In French with subtitles.