A philosophy teacher restless with the need to do something with his life meets a young woman suspected of driving an artist to his death. He finds the very simple Cecilia irritating but ... See full summary »
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A philosophy teacher restless with the need to do something with his life meets a young woman suspected of driving an artist to his death. He finds the very simple Cecilia irritating but develops a sexual rapport with her. Obsessed with the need to own and tormented by her inability to respond to him, he becomes increasingly violent in a quest he can't name - a quest that slowly begins to undermine his certainties. Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
Abstinence is turning you sour; give it up.
Really? Do I know her?
No, I met her in odd circumstances a few weeks ago.
Really? You must be pleased.
You're quite wrong, I don't like her at all. She's totally uninteresting. I'm trying to get rid of her.
Why? Is she ugly?
Is she stupid then?
No. Not at all. She never says anything stupid. It's complicated. She bores me. I have no contact with her. Or rather only physical contact.
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Yet another overheated French melodrama about sexual obsession, this time based on an old Alberto Moravia novel.
While the three main roles are more than adequately filled by Charles Berling, Sophie Guillemin and Arielle Dombasle, the surfeit of pretentious talk wears the film down and soon grows tiresome (even to hardened art-house film addicts like myself). The main reason to keep watching (apart from the copious sex scenes, of course) is to follow Berling's gradual deterioration from a merely curious seeker of a casual sexcapade to fully-fledged manic depressive. Having a teenaged, plump ugly duckling as the object of his desire has some novelty value, but ultimately her character is so distant and self-centered that one cannot fully empathize with Berling's plight. Also, I haven't read the novel myself but the (relative) happy ending seems misjudged. The vaguely surreal dinner sequences where Berling is introduced to the girl's parents as her music teacher (especially those scenes featuring her cancer-ridden, speech-impaired father) ironically offer a respite from all the glumness but, in retrospect, seem to belong to a totally different film.
Italian film director Damiano Damiani had previously adapted the same source material for the screen as LA NOIA aka THE EMPTY CANVAS (1963) which starred Horst Buchholz, Catherine Spaak and Bette Davis (as Buchholz' mother!), a role which was omitted completely by Cedric Kahn for his modern version. I haven't watched the Damiani film but I would certainly like to, especially since it features a good cast: besides those already mentioned, Isa Miranda, Georges Wilson and Daniela Rocca, also appear.
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