Separate credits are given in "A Woman at Her Window" to the designers of Romy Schneider's gloves, handbags and hats, and deservedly so. But it's another symptom of the problem in Pierre Granier Deferre's film. It, too, is composed of ambitious elements in competition with one another.
The film is about a fugitive Greek Communist in the 1930s, who is protected by members of the diplomatic corps at Athens. Although their political motives are never explained, there's a wonderfully tacky portrait of the overstated social life of that isolated group, with their tennis tournaments in the shadow of the Acropolis; one only hopes it was meant to be satirical. Later, political turbulences in Greece in the 1940s and 1960s are suggested sketchily in an attempt to wind up the files on the chief characters.
But it's a hard job to figure all this out. No one involved in the making of this film seems to have done it.
Unfinished plot leads, incongruities of time and place and unexplained relationships abound, providing what ludicrous humor there is that doesn't come from Romy Schneider's feathered and draped costumes. If she is protecting the Communist out of lust, why is her errant husband helping her at the risk of his career? Why is her suitor involving himself? For that matter, what are the political motivations that turn the heir of a Greek import-export business to communism?
To cover these crucial faults, the picture has been broken up like a jigsaw puzzle, with time sequences strewn about at random, and even putting the exact date of each scene into a banner subtitle doesn't make it less of a chore to follow what happens when.
No doubt the hope was to make the spectator feel that if only he had the skill to put the pieces together, they would form a meaningful picture.
But there are simply too many pieces missing.