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2001 | 1997

2 items from 1997

Film review: 'Post Coitum '

30 September 1997 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Few films have depicted sexual obsession with the degree of vividness and humor that "Post Coitum, Animal Triste" demonstrates. The tale of a 40-year-old woman and her affair with a younger man, Brigitte Rouan's feature is a perfect example of the French cinema's dominance when it comes to exploring affairs of the heart.

Previously showcased at Cannes, it screened as part of the New York Film Festival.

Director Rouan also plays the central role of Diane, a happily married woman with a loving husband, two children and a fulfilling job at a publishing house. Her life is turned upside down when she begins an affair with a young, handsome and virile engineer named Emilio (Boris Terral). Throwing caution to the wind, she becomes utterly obsessed, rejoicing in a newfound sexuality that brings her to heights of ecstasy. At one point in this sometimes fanciful film, she is depicted as literally walking on air.

Meanwhile, her husband, Philippe (Patrick Chesnais), begins to realize what's going on; in a subplot that wittily comments on the main action of the film, he's serving as the lawyer for a woman who stabbed her husband to death with a fork because he was cheating on her.

When Emilio abruptly ends the affair, the story takes a different turn, as Diane lengthily and dramatically unravels. The lighthearted film then takes on the dimensions of Greek tragedy.

Rouan is more successful when she is delineating her character's sexual blossoming than her dramatic disintegration, but the first half of the film provides such giddy highs that one is willing to overlook its more routine resolution.

The film is in equal measures witty, touching and funny, and as an actress, Rouan demonstrates an emotional and physical daring that is highly impressive. The supporting characters are equally well-limned; Emilio and Philippe, excellently played by Terral and Chesnais, respectively, are fully drawn, complex characters rather than the stereotypes that a lesser film would have presented.


Ognon Pictures, Pinou Film

in association with Canal Plus

Director:Brigitte Rouan

Screenplay:Brigitte Rouan, Santiago Amigorena, Jean-Louis Richard, Guy Zilberstein, Philippe Le Guay

Producer:Humbert Balsan

Photography:Pierre Dupoey, Arnaud Leguy, Bruno Mistretta

Editor:Laurent Rouan



Diane Clovier:Brigitte Rouan

Philippe Clovier:Patrick Chesnais

Emilio:Boris Terral

Francoise Narou:Nils Tavernier

Weyoman-Lebeau:Jean-Louis Richard

Madame Lepluche:Francoise Arnoul

Running time -- 97 minutes

No MPAA rating


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Film review: 'Post-Coitum'

18 June 1997 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Dominated by co-writer and director Brigitte Rouan's courageous lead performance as a 40-year-old married woman embarking on a wildly liberating but dangerous affair with a man half her age, "Post-Coitum, Animal Triste" is a compelling, expertly fleshed-out drama.

The first of three new French films in the "Cannes 50" celebration of the world's most famous film festival, "Post-Coitum" screens tonight at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The unwieldy but appropriate title aside, Rouan's fine subtitled feature should spruce up many a festival lineup. Alas, its chances of regular domestic distribution are iffy at best.

We're introduced in the first scene to Diane (Rouan), a publisher's editor writhing in emotional and physical agony over a scuttled relationship. Although the film ultimately takes us through the stormy waters of Diane's post-affair journey into near catastrophe, Rouan backtracks to revel in the raw passions and naughty behavior that sweep up the wife and mother when she surrenders to the advances of gorgeous, attentive Emilio (Boris Terral).

A hydraulic engineer who works primarily in the Third World, Emilio is the roommate of Diane's most promising author, Francois (Nils Tavernier). Stymied by writer's block, Francois relies on Diane for professional help, and it's through him that she first encounters Emilio. In a jarring disruption to the lightly comic first act, an older woman (Francoise Arnoul) murders her aging husband by stabbing him in the neck with a fork.

The lawyer defending Arnoul's character is Diane's husband Philippe (Patrick Chesnais), who soon suspects his wife of having an affair but does not directly confront her. Quiet and decent, he connects on a personal level with his client and comes to understand her motives for ending 40 years of marriage with violence.

With a sly approach, Rouan and her co-writers eventually create a satisfying cinematic tragicomedy devoted to the sadness of those experiencing loss of love. It's an occasionally rough viewing experience and also quite sexy but nothing less than truthful and timelessly relevant.

The film is a showcase for Rouan's prodigious thespian talents as she moves from girlish abandon to anger to self-destruction. In scene after scene, she captures the extreme exaltation and naked misery of a modern woman who falls in love only "once every 15 years."


An Ognon Pictures-Pinou Film co-production

A film by Brigitte Rouan

Director Brigitte Rouan

Writers Brigitte Rouan, Santiago Amigorena,

Jean-Louis Richard, Guy Zilberstein,

Philippe Le Guay

Producer Humbert Balsan

Cinematographers Pierre Dupouey,

Arnaud Leguy, Bruno Mistretta

Editor Laurent Rouan

Art director Roland Deville

Costumes Florence Emir, Marika Ingrato



Diane Clovier Brigitte Rouan

Philippe Clovier Patrick Chesnais

Emilio Boris Terral

Francois Nils Tavernier

Mme. Lepluche Francoise Arnoul

Running time -- 97 minutes

No MPAA rating


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2001 | 1997

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