The Hairdresser's Husband (1990)
By: Paul Ryan on November 13, 2009  | 
Severin (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) French DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 81 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Patrice Leconte
Starring: Jean Rochefort, Anna Galiena, Roland Bertin, Maurice Chevit, Philippe Clévenot
Screenplay: Claude Klotz, Patrice Leconte
Country: France
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Middle-aged Antoine (Jean Rochefort) has spent his life haunted by the memory of a curvy hairdresser who cut his hair as a boy. Though the woman eventually took her own life, Antoine grows up convinced he will one day marry a hairdresser. Upon casting his eyes on the sultry Mathilde (Anna Galiena), sole proprietor of a local salon, Antoine falls deeply in love (and, undoubtedly, lust), proposing to her mere minutes after meeting. Surprisingly, she accepts, and the pair settle down to a simple life in the salon. At least, that's how it seems on the surface...

Far removed from the usual kind of bawdy stuff we cover here at Digital Retribution, The Hairdresser's Husband has little in the way of nudity, but still creates a palpable sense of eroticism. This is a gentle, lyrical tale in the magic realism mode, with character behaviour that is generally unlikely and oddly-motivated, but still manages to convince within the world of the story.

The direction by Patrice Leconte (who later made the more overtly-stylised The Girl on the Bridge) is subtle and deliberate, aided by Eduardo Serra's ethereal cinematography, and fine lead performances by Rochefort and Galiena (who recalls Jane Russell in her earthy, raven-haired beauty).

While it isn't hugely memorable - and the ending will probably frustrate some viewers - it is an entertaining film that is worth checking out.
No complaints to be had here about the video. Severin have presented the film in a very fine anamorphic transfer it the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. There's a lot of red in the film, which doesn't usually transfer well in NTSC, but it looks pretty good here. Though labelled as Region 1 on the cover, this release is actually region-free.
The 2.0 Dolby track is consistently well-balanced and clear throughout.
Extra Features
The Hairdresser's Reflections (17.41m): This is a recently recorded interview with a still-stunning Anna Galiena, who discusses her involvement in the film in an effusive and candid manner. Galiena talks about being given a crash course in hairdressing prior to filming, her working relationship with Leconte, and how she views the film with the distance of time.

Leconte on Leconte, Part 1
(36.14m): This is the first in a series of Leconte interviews to be featured on other Severin discs. Leconte runs through his early films, public reaction, and his ongoing collaborations with Jean Rochefort (despite an acrimonious first project together), before finally discussing this film. There are some interesting insights here – particularly his defence of the ending – and in the absence of a commentary, this is just as good. Both this and the preceding featurette are prefaced with a spoiler warning, which is a nice touch.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Generally lighthearted – with a few moments of darkness woven in – The Hairdresser's Husband likely won't satisfy those looking for overt smuttiness, but maintains a steady mood of eroticism throughout. A breezy sense of humor and fine lead performances are the icing on the cake. Severin have done a fine job with the DVD presentation.

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