Three men, three women, opposites, possibilities, and tastes. Castella owns a industrial steel barrel plant in Rouen; Bruno is his flute-playing driver, Franck is his temporary bodyguard ...
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Josse De Pauw,
Eva van der Gucht,
Werner De Smedt
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Three men, three women, opposites, possibilities, and tastes. Castella owns a industrial steel barrel plant in Rouen; Bruno is his flute-playing driver, Franck is his temporary bodyguard while he negotiates a contract with Iranians, his wife Angélique does frou-frou interior decorating and loves her dog. The conventional Castella hires a forty-year-old actress, Clara, to tutor him in English, and he finds her and her Bohemian lifestyle fascinating. Is this love? What would she say if he declared himself? Through Bruno, Franck meets Manie, a barmaid who deals hash. They begin an affair. Are they in love? They joke about marriage. As the women hold back, the men must make decisions. Written by
Why can't American directors make movies like this? It's quiet, calm, small, understated, beautifully paced (read: slow and leisurely) and thought-provoking. The premise of the movie is not whether opposites attract (which would be nothing new) but whether our preconceptions often keep us closed down to new people and new experiences. With some gentle nudges, the characters in this lovely movie take deep breaths, look again at people and situations, and see what had been missed before. And yes, it does make us think about how art enriches us and helps us abandon the old preconceptions. Jean-Pierre Bacri is, as usual, splendid, making himself mildly repulsive and appealing, almost simultaneously (though he ends up definitely on the appealing side of the line.) How does he do it? And it's a treat to know that the actress playing the younger woman, Manie, is both the film's director and screenwriter. If you want to know what I mean about pacing, just watch the main character, Clara, as she comes out of cafe after having been stood up for an English lesson. An American director would have cut the scene as she leaves the cafe and bustles across the street in the rain, annoyed and wound up tight as a drum. But in this movie, the camera follows Clara as she walks in the rain down a long street - the shot just lasts forever, and you can see all of Clara's irritation dissipating and turning into loneliness. It's a beautiful shot.
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