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Je pense à vous (1992)

 -  Drama  -  2 April 2006 (Hungary)
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 43 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

Can love resuscitate a languishing man?

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Robin Renucci ...
Fabrice
Fabienne Babe ...
Céline
Tolsty ...
Marek
Gil Lagay ...
Renzo
Pietro Pizzuti ...
Laurent
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Angélique Astgen
Suzanne Colin
Claude Etienne
Patrick Goossens
Pier Paquette
Stéphane Pondeville
Serge Péharpré ...
Un syndicaliste
Nathalie Uffner
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Storyline

Belgium 1980. On the banks of the Meuse river, against the background of a steel-producing city, factories close down one after another and lay off workers. One of those made redundant is Fabrice who, at thirty-five, is proud of his trade, rendered mythical by fire and steel, but feels he has become useless. His wife, Céline, tries to renew his interest in life. Despite a few moments of rediscovered happiness, Fabrice remains trapped in his confusion and one day disappears. Céline, her intense love leading the way, goes looking for him and eventually finds him. Once again, she tries to save him from himself. Can love resuscitate a languishing man? That is Céline's wager. Written by Hannelore Goossens

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

2 April 2006 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Je pense à vous  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
the seeds
27 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

The Dardenne brothers' devotees who admired such strong works as "Rosetta" (1999) or "le Fils" (2002), why not giving a go to this piece of work that the two Belgian brothers created in 1992? But be warned, don't expect something of the same caliber or intensity like the films quoted above. As a matter of fact, although it doesn't really shelter the Dardenne brothers' style, "Je Pense à Vous" already encapsulates a part of their trademark and what will be later developed in their forthcoming movies. First: the surroundings with the world of the underprivileged and those left behind by progress and modernity, victims of unemployment, social crisis and injustices. Then, ill-fated characters who got a raw deal and struggle hard to make ends meet and persevere their dignities. The two brothers will tap again these features for their subsequent films and will be Ken Loach's Belgian answer. Besides, maybe was it the right time for them to broach and construe this kind of cinema at a time when the respectable British filmmaker decided to put his camera in the world of the dropouts and to listen to them from "Riff-Raff" (1990) onwards.

With a little help from Jean Gruault who thirty years before had collaborated with François Truffaut for the writing of his celebrated "Jules et Jim" (1962), it's evident that the Dardenne brothers were searching for a directorial style to enable them to distinguish themselves. Their set of themes is palpable here but their style isn't. The features which will make them recognizable among others are virtually absent: no tight editing, no hand-held camera, no documentary aspect, no rare dialogs. Instead, very worked sequences which bestow the film with lyricism, an evocative music and a courageous portrait of Fabrice (Robin Renucci). His job as a steel worker makes him proud but everything goes askew on the day he's dismissed from his job. As he feels pointless, he refuses a job as a photoengraver and slowly drifts, leaving his wife (Fabienne Babe) worried.

As I said before, the Dardenne brothers' stylish directing isn't present here but it doesn't stop the film from being eminently watchable in spite of flaws: some embarrassing ellipsis hamper the good vision of the story which accumulates stereotyped protagonists and predictable turns in the second half of the film and one can deem the ending as too cozy and easy. In the two brothers' next films, happy-end will be shelved.

But the actors make this warm-up lap worthwhile and notably Robin Renucci whom Claude Chabrol's fans saw in his excellent "Masques" (1987). As for the Dardenne brothers, they will keep their promises from their next film onwards, "la Promesse" (1996)! The seeds are sown, now all they have to do is to grow and ripen


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