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Juan David Restrepo
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"Tricheurs" (1984), which means "cheaters" is an interesting story about a gambling addict who becomes a cheater only to find that winning doesn't satisfy him. He only feels alive when he loses. This theme of wealth-destructive behavior that enhances, rather than diminishes, the emotional content of life appears also in "The Gambler" (1974) with James Caan. Here the story is more modest and low-key in content and telling, but it brings in a new angle, that of cheating. Additionally, it involves a man and a woman whose attraction becomes commingled with their addiction. These story elements show different facets of the hold of gambling, winning and losing on the players.
The main gambler Elric (Jacques Dutronc) grew up in a household that served a family that owned a "castle" upon a high hill overlooking lakes and mountains and containing a lovely acreage. Elric wants to buy this expensive place or thinks it is what will make him happy. We have to imagine that somehow in his youth, defeats and inferior status have made him associate being good with losing. He's a masochist with respect to wealth and winning. He doesn't feel right unless the casino takes his occasional winnings. We hardly see him enjoying any winnings, apart from getting some attention and freebies from the casino.
Elric and partner Suzie (Bulle Ogier) teeter on the edge of helping and hurting one another because she too is addicted to gambling although not as strongly. Elric falls in with Jorg (Kurt Raab), a cheater, creating an interesting new scenario in which they roam the world and cheat their way to some wealth, which Elric tends to gamble away. Perhaps Suzie can lead him out of the wilderness, perhaps not.
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