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La Fidelité (2000)
Andrzej Zulawski has an obsession : Passion for understand love and how feeling could affect everything beyond reason. Clélia (Sophie Marceau), is a very attractive photographer that start a new job in a sensationalistic newspaper. This is the gate in which she is going to know three men : Cléve ( Pascal Geggory) a middle age books editor, that will become her husband ; Nemo (Gillaume Canet) also a photographer with a very intriguing life; and the owner of the broadcasting and tabloid company, Rupert McRoi ( Michel Subor), that by the way could be her real Dad. But Fidelity isn't a soap opera, and thing are more complicated in Zulawski's movies. . The Fidelity, is about different things: principles and fidelity, beyond passion, and how a bisexual husband do not believe the sincerity of his wife. Is also about the paparazzi's underworld, and how our life is directed by our feelings.
This subject was the them of Possession (1981), in which other lovely woman, Isabelle Adjani, is trapped between the tentacles of a "Thing", that could be the irrationality of passions. La Fidelité is full of different characters, that are interconnected with the invisible net of feeling and passion. The young girl enters in a few time in a chaotic experiences as well as the hypocrisy of some of the people that surround her and the photography became a tool for to understand, by the way, the film is also full of gorgeous photos and a blink to Andy Warhol, which picture is showed somewhere in the film.
Zulawski's 'La Fidélité' is one imbalanced film. The plot is very contrived. It tries to tackle too many things at once but does not quite succeed in spite of the almost 3 hour length. The characters lack dimension (and are hardly interesting). I was irritated by the explicit male nudity (which was more than female nudity). The sex scenes looked unconvincing and a little vulgar, as if they were just thrown in the movie randomly, giving it a pretentious look. The story lacks a distinct direction. Yet, somehow, something about it kept me watching till the end and after the closing credits have rolled, I didn't feel disappointed (by the fact that I spent three hours watching the film) nor was I particularly satisfied. By no means, is this a great film but it is shot quite beautifully. The photography and cinematography are excellent. Some of the images have been so wonderfully and artistically shot and brought on screen. I liked how beautifully the relationship between Clelia and her mother (played by the fabulous Magali Noël) was portrayed and how Clelia's obsession with photographing everything reflects her own life. Sophie Marceau does very well, carrying the film, in spite of having a weakly written character. Guillaume Canet is okay and Pascal Gregory is awful. Perhaps Zulawski wanted to present the film like a photograph which captures a moment but tells a lot about the surrounding time period. He doesn't succeed though. For me, it's one of those films that I wouldn't call great but I didn't mind watching either.
Intriguing that Sophie Marceau should make a film about fidelity under the
direction of Zulawski (" Crazy love* "), her companion for more than
years. But this is just one aspect of a baroque and flamboyant film which
evokes the gutter press and organ trafficking to bring up to date a
classic, "The princess of Cleves ". Torn between her oath not to deceive
husband and her desire for a suicidal young photographer, Sophie Marceau
finds herself in one of her best roles.
* with Sophie Marceau, Francis Huster and Tcheky Karyo.
This is a movie that should have been a mini-series as it tries to get too much information in too small a space. The whole story is constantly being bombarded with sub-plots, character introduction and meaningless pieces information that go nowhere. There is a underlying plot where boy meets a girl, she has doubts but gets married anyhow and then her doubts surface and she goes to see if they are real. They turn out not to be but her husband won't believe that she was not unfaithful and her almost boyfriend doesn't want her as she was not unfaithful to her husband. With that said there are no less than 1000 sub-plots and character introductions that make this plot almost incomprehensible. In the first 15 minutes you are inundated with so many things and situations that you just stop caring. You don't care about any of the confused and screwed up cast that drifts in and out of the story like vultures feeding on a corpse. Each one comes in and takes some interest away from the viewer. After a half-hour, and completely disinterested, I stayed and watched the remaining two and a half hours out of pure morbid curiosity. I couldn't imagine where it was going but like staring at a fire I just couldn't get up and turn it off. The production values are superb but the resulting movie is a waste of time; wash your socks instead.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was a complete disaster for me. There is one thing that movies must have in order to be watchable, and that is *some* psychological credibility of characters... unfortunately, here, this is not the case. The main characters behave irrationally most of the time, and even if they have some reason for such behavior, it is not revealed to us by the director. Sophie Marceau's character is particularly irritating, making pictures of everything throughout the whole movie, when one could expect something more rational (for example meeting with her mother in the hospital)... and why exactly did she marry this guy? (no, this is not a spoiler) The plot at times seems like ripped off some soap-opera, and while the actors' performance is not bad, this does not help much. All in all, I just could not find a way to connect with this movie. Not that I tried too much after the first hour, though. I have never walked out of cinema during a movie, but this time was the closest in my life so far.
It seemed almost impossible to come; "La Fidelite" shows that not
is lost yet, in the times of award-winning stupidity.
It's a great achievement: you can see our real world (somewhat surreally
shown), and in the same time you watch AND understand AND feel what's most
deep and most important...... see the picture, I kindly ask everyone.
Thanks for Mr Zulawski, Ms Marceau, Mr Korzynski.
I like French cinema and Sophie Marceau in particular, so i was expecting
great things of this film, but i have to say i was disappointed. It's not
awful, but it's not great either - the first half of the film is pretty
poor, but it redeems itself to some degree in the latter
After the first half hour i thought i had paid to see a soft-porn flick, such was the lack of plot, direction and character. Not a lot happens to begin with except Marceau s****ing every bloke who glances her way, plus the occasional scene with her infirm mother - a broken woman who chose duty over love in her choice of husband. The film then progresses to chart Marceau's path along the duty vs. love road, although it does so in a very contrived way.
The characters are fairly one-dimensional, and it's not until the last hour or so that there is any real emotion to the film. By this time the director seems to have lost the plot, and the film changes tone very noticeably (think: From Dusk 'til Dawn - ok maybe not that bad, but bad enough). One minute it's a drama, then it's an action flick. Then back to drama again, and very disjointed it is too. It finally ends back in the drama fold, and does at least ask a few questions about the theme of the film, Fidelity, but for a film that's 3 hours long they're not very deep and not very well portrayed, and i left the cinema thinking: "what a missed opportunity!". Disappointing.
Billed as a highlight of this year's Martell French Film tour of the UK,
Fidelity runs for slightly over three hours. But despite its length, it
tackles far too much. I could list off a dozen themes from it but it's
enough making this readable. I liked Sophie Marceau and Pascal Greggory
characterisation is not a strong point of this film.
La Fidélité's ambitions, some of its subject matter, and the fact that it's three hours long, are a bit like another recent French film, Pola X. That film was even more over the top and over-reaching. Also, it didn't have Sophie Marceau, and it was, frankly, mad. So arguably Pola X was a worse flop than this film, but it had visual imagination. Which went a long way, and left me feeling less conned than I did after three hours of this.
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