Thursday, July 19, 2007


PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES is directed by the giant of French cinema, Alain Resnais and based on the play by acclaimed English author Alan Aychbourn. It is photographed by Eric Gautier, the respected DP who brought us GABRIELLE and THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES. It is acted by a superb cast comprising Sabine Azéma, Lambert Wilson, André Dussollier, Pierre Arditi, Laura Morante and Isabelle Carré.

All this means that I approach the film with much respect for all concerned. It does not, however, preclude me from damning it as pretentious, tedious, over-worked, heavy-handed, deliberately oblique, wank. Seriously. There is nothing new here. No insights into contemporary human loneliness and relationships. Nothing.

The film/play is based on six people and uses the over-familiar structure wherein everyone is linked to everyone else. Andre Dussolier plays an ageing estate agent who is showing Laura Morante's character around apartments. She is frustrated with the choices, though we later find that this reflects her frustration with her lazy fiance, played by Lambert Wilson. He spends his time drinking in a bar managed by Pierre Arditi instead of looking for a job. Arditi tells him to ditch his fiancee and find a new woman. So he hooks up with a pretty young blonde played by Sabine Azema. She has low self-esteem due to being constantly let down by dates. She lives with her (incredibly) much older brother, played by Andre Dussolier. And Dussolier's colleague, played by Isabelle Carre, completes the circle. She plays a fiercely religious woman who gives Dussolier's character videos of "Songs of Praise" type shows, that are actually taped over tantalising home-made porn videos! Oh yes, and she works part time as a carer for Pierre Arditi's character's father.

The only reason I stayed in the cinema was to see how they resolved by the religious woman/porn star segment. They basically didn't. What we did get was some heavy-handed imagery. Oh, the characters are so isolated and emotionally cold that when they speak it snows INSIDE the house. Ah, so poetic! Unbelievable.

PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES/COEURS played Venice 2006 where it (unbelievably) won Best Director and Best Actress for Laura Morante. It has already opened in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, the US, Greece, Israel, Brazil and the UK. It opens in Argentina on August 2nd.

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