Cécile and Samira can't pay their expensive Paris rent. Walking down the street the two girls see an art gallery reception and finesse their way in. In attendance are Michel Farnèse, a very...
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Cécile and Samira can't pay their expensive Paris rent. Walking down the street the two girls see an art gallery reception and finesse their way in. In attendance are Michel Farnèse, a very well-to-do corporate lawyer, and his wife Viviane, an artist. While Samira overdoes it at the buffet table, Cécile steals some wallets from coats at the coat check. The girls are ejected. Michel notices his wallet is missing... The girls try to rob a Chinese jeweller but there's a scuffle. Cécile escapes; Samira, a Moroccan, is arrested. Cécile needs to find a lawyer. She sees Michel's card in his wallet... Michel agrees to take the case, since Cécile comes from the same poor neighbourhood he worked his way out of. The jealous Viviane suspects her husband has another reason... Cécile's old boyfriend Vincent provides her an alibi for the robbery. His testimony gets Cécile acquitted and he wants her back. Cécile comes to Michel's office to thank him. She leaves, but forgets her sweater. Michel takes ... Written by
This is a steamy, totally engrossing study of 'one of those situations' where a man becomes infatuated with a girl 25 years younger than himself. In this case, the girl is Virginie Ledoyen when she still was a girl, and what a hot number she was too. She manages to do a pole dance around a man, and that takes some writhing. Gérard Lanvin is the unfortunate older man who becomes enmeshed in a web of overwhelming passion at the same time that he is having a mid-life crisis about who he really is. This does not go down well with his wife, played by Carole Bouquet, whose portrayal of a wronged wife seething with jealousy and rage while at the same time deeply in love with the man who has betrayed her is a magnificent performance. When her eyes narrow and become steely, watch out, for she is 'a woman scorned'. This film is based upon a Simenon novel, so it is full of tension and is not at all relaxing to watch, so be prepared. Every minute is full of apprehension. Ledoyen is an amoral, totally feral young girl from Rennes who has never been loved and has moved to Paris where she tries to pay the rent by stealing wallets and petty theft with her equally wild friend Samira, with whom she shares a flat. She likes to party and she loves sex, and can't stop either. She has become involved with a psychopathic boyfriend who is a bartender dealing in drugs under the counter, played by Guillaume Canet. Lanvin is not only infatuated with Ledoyen, he identifies with her, because she comes from the same run-down area called Pantin where he himself grew up, and he feels more authentic and himself by returning to his roots in her company than in continuing to live his life as an extremely rich and successful lawyer in a grand and luxurious house in Paris and a large country home besides. It is all a recipe for inevitable disaster, and the only question is, who will try to kill whom first, and how long we have to wait for it to happen. Pierre Jolivet is the director of this wrenching-and-wenching melodrama tinged with angst and menace. He keeps us on the edges of our seats, teeth clenched, as we observe the spiralings towards disaster. The character of Ledoyen is particularly well conceived, scripted, and portrayed. She makes an abortive visit 'home' to Rennes to attempt to see her mother, whom 'I have not seen in years', despite the fact that she is still only about twenty. She and the boyfriend drive up in a stolen Porsche to the corner house in Rennes only to find it all boarded up, no one having lived there for a long time. Ledoyen retreats to the car, rebuffed and with a grim visage. She makes no attempt to ask any neighbours what has happened to her mother, she just sits there smouldering with rejection, accepting yet another of the incessant blows of Fate to which she clearly believes there is no point in offering any resistance, and she allows herself to be driven away knowing that she will never now find her only relative. Not long afterwards, the crazy boyfriend drives the Porsche into the sea and staggers away across the sands laughing insanely, followed by a bedraggled Ledoyen, who accepts this as normal. In a revealing love scene, Ledoyen says to Lanvin: 'I have never been loved before, until now.' Her unruly and faithless character is thus fully explained. To her, illogicalities such as sleeping with two different men on the same day, do not present themselves to any reasoning faculties of her mind at all. She says naively to the boyfriend: 'When I am with you, I miss him. And when I am with him, I miss you.' That is as far as her powers of rationality can stretch, so damaged is she. She becomes pregnant, though the paternity of the child is, to say the least, up for grabs. The boyfriend becomes a mad stalker of Lanvin and follows him around on his motorbike full of raging violence and the desire for vengeance. Lanvin's law practice is in danger, and his life is close to falling apart. This is a very harrowing tale but very gripping.
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