"My films, you say, are literary: The things I say could be said in a novel. Yes, but what do I say? My characters' discourse is not necessarily my film's discourse.
There is certainly literary material in my tales, a preestablished novelistic plot that could be developed in writing and that is, in fact, sometimes developed in the form of a commentary. But neither the text of these commentaries, nor that of my dialogues, is my film: Rather, they are things that I film, just like the landscapes, faces, behavior, and gestures. And if you say that speech is an impure element, I no longer agree with you. Like images, it is a part of the life I film.
What I say, I do not say with words. I do not say it with images, either, with all due respect to partisans of pure cinema, who would speak with images as a deaf-mute does with his hands. After all, I do not say, I show. I show people who move and speak. That is all I know how to do, but that is my true subject. The rest, I agree, is literature."
—From "Letter to a critic [concerning my Contes moraux]"
Below, three images from this frequently misunderstood artist and artisan, who has left us at age 89:
From top: Françoise Verley and Bernard Verley, Love in the Afternoon, 1972; Françoise Fabian and Jean-Louis Trintignant, My Night At Maud's, 1969; Haydeé Politoff and Patrick Bauchau, La Collectionneuse, 1967.