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Two families are unhappy with their respective relationships: first of ambitious businessman Jeffrey Byron and sexually frustrated Marianne and second of repair contractor Lucky Mann and former B-movie actress Phyllis. When Lucky arrives to Byron's apartment to make some minor repair and Marianne becomes obsessed with him, the everyday balance breaks. Written by
("What Now My Love")
Written by Gilbert Bécaud and Pierre Delanoë (as Pierre Delonde)
Performed by Gilbert Bécaud
Published by Editions Redeau Rouge/BMG Music Publishing, France
Administered in U.S. by BMG Songs, Inc.
Courtesy of Capitol Records under license from EMI-Capitol Music
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There's no doubt Julie Christie was one of the most unique personalities of the late sixties and early seventies. A remote beauty who was sexy and charming in Billy Liar and Darling, haunting and enigmatic in Don't Look Now and McCabe and Mrs. Miller and one of the few things worth remembering about Doctor Zhivago. Her notorious pickiness when it comes to choosing roles has served her well and she is one of the few stars from that time who has moved quite gracefully through a film career. Her resources as an actress allow the character of Phyllis Mann to come alive in a way that few could accomplish and the magic she creates is unforgetable. Laid back hipster Alan Rudolph's sexual roundelay has a lush look on top and a jazzy score below but it's Christie who sears the visuals with sadness, mystery, and wit. Nick Nolte's rugged charm serves him well throughout and when these two are alone together on screen, the art of film acting is proudly displayed. Watch the scene when a drunken Phyllis tries to rekindle their physical relationship and notice the body language. Note to filmmakers: Rudolph's genius is knowing when not to move the camera and in trusting his actors to do the work.
The film seems ponderous and flat at first and Johnny Lee Miller and Lara Flynn Boyle are still learning their craft (their scenes do grate), but Afterglow is a cockeyed success for those with patience.
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