After laboring in obscurity for several years, French filmmaker Claude Sautet finally struck a responsive chord with moviegoers in Les Choses de la Vie. The plot isn’t much: the hero, businessman Michel Piccoli, must choose between his wife and his mistress, two women whom he loves with equal fervor. It is what Sautet does with the material that lifts the film above the ordinary. The director puts the central character’s plight in context with his ongoing concerns over his job, his income, and his relationship with his family. In Choses de la Vie Sautet has nothing but the warmest feelings for his characters, which results in more three-dimensionality that might normally be expected in so banal a plotline.