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C'est la tangente que je préfère (1997)

Sabine, an adolescent girl with a gift for mathematics becomes involved with Jiri, a 40-something man-of-the-theatre from Prague. The story of their relationship and the gradual ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Julie Delarme ...
Marie-Christine Barrault ...
La prof de maths
La mère de Sabine
Christophe Malavoy ...
Le père de Sabine
Suzie ...
La femme blonde
Pétra la vérité
La prof de sciences-nat
Maxime Lombard ...
Maurice Chevit ...
Louis Navarre ...
Alix de Konopka ...
La voisine
Bernard Sens ...
Witold Heretynski ...


Sabine, an adolescent girl with a gift for mathematics becomes involved with Jiri, a 40-something man-of-the-theatre from Prague. The story of their relationship and the gradual transformation of Sabine's life as a result of it. Written by Parisias

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Release Date:

5 August 1998 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Love, Math and Sex  »

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User Reviews

Worth seeing
6 October 2014 | by (Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

This movie is a about a 15-year-old female math prodigy with a severely messed-up home life. She charges her classmates for helping them with their homework--or sometimes outright doing their it for them--but because she's pretty much the sole breadwinner in her welfare-dependent, gambling-addicted family, she also commits other petty crime like stealing from waiters in cafes. She gets caught by a man she keeps improbably running into and who she thinks is a cop, but who turns out to be Czechslavokian playwright. She impulsively prostitutes herself to him, even though she is still a virgin, and they fall in love even as she prepares to go to Belgium for a international math competition.

At first blush this looks like another French "lolita" movie kind of along the lines of "36 Fillete", "White Wedding", or "The Little Thief". It is a little better than some of the others though. It's told from the perspective of the young girl (i.e. from the perspective of "Lolita" rather "Humbert Humbert"), which is kind of refreshing and--if it had been directed by someone like Catherine Breillat--might even be considered feminist. The actress Julie Delarme was somewhat older than her teenage character, so rather than brief nude scenes the movie shows more graphic sex (stronger than "White Wedding" or "The Little Thief", which had younger teenage actresses, if not as strong as other movies like "To My Sister" or "Blue is the Warmest Color"). This would make it more acceptable in America where 18 year olds can do hardcore porn, but people get upset if a 17 year old casually displays her breasts.

What kind of annoys me about these movies though is how worldly, sophisticated, and precocious they always make the adolescent protagonist. Of course, they're physically attractive since they're played by older actresses (or 17-year-old beauties like Vannesa Paradis in "White Wedding"), but real teens are much more immature and bratty and don't have dialogue written for them by adult screenwriters. The precociousness of this character though is at least explained by her mathematical brilliance, and it's more clear why she would be alienated from her peers and her family and drawn to a much older man. And she does at times act really impulsively, like when she sees her lover with another woman and files potentially disastrous statutory rape charges against him (wow, they HAVE statutory rape in France--I never would have guessed from their movies). Strangely enough, his movie kind of reminded me of "Baxter" where you have a highly intelligent dog that nevertheless still acts like a dog a lot of the time.

I also appreciate that the grasp this movie has on math is slightly better than "Mean Girls" at least. This is worth seeing.

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