July 20, 1981 12:00 PM

Who said beauty is only skin-deep? In the case of Simone Signoret, the skin has stretched, sagged and wrinkled, but beauty keeps emerging from new depths. That her empathetic talents have only improved with age seemed clear in Madame Rosa, which won the 1977 Oscar for Best Foreign Film; now it is confirmed in this work by the same director, Israeli Moshe Mizrahi. Signoret plays a spinster caring for her invalid brother in an isolated beach house. They are bored and lonely. But a search for love and the film’s somewhat contrived script threaten to keep them forlornly comforting each other. Aficionados of action-packed or sex-sodden films can forget this. It is a subtle piece: Signoret’s performance is exciting in quiet ways. Jean Rochefort, as the brother, is fine, too. In French with subtitles. (Not rated)

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