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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the story of two women who were childhood friends. Although one
of them was not overtly aware of it, the other friend had become
sexually attracted to her over time. However, instead of voicing this
inner desire, this longing, at times, comes out in the form of conflict
between them. This conflict pushes them apart and years pass until they
are reunited. However, this sublimated conflict inevitably arises and
the friends part repeatedly without getting to the heart of the
Eventually, they get to their true feelings and they have a brief and passionate sexual encounter. However, instead of it being the beginning of a new phase in their relationship, it drives them apart as the one friend (who had not had the obsession) felted repelled by the homosexual aspect of her own sexuality and she QUICKLY jumped into a sexual liaison with a man to prove her own heterosexuality to herself. The obsessed friend felt betrayed and they went their separate ways again (though exactly how this occurred is VERY intense and striking, you'll just have to see it for yourself). The end.
I don't really think this is a "lesbian movie" per se, as the movie seems to point out that humans are sexual beings with a wide range of sexual desires and responses. Both women are sexually involved with men as well as each other. How they respond psychologically to this hidden desire is what makes this a really interesting movie.
A film with an unaffected, to-the-point direction, a sensitive, penetrating story and first-rate interpretations from actresses who I, for one,would care not to see weeping, statuette-in-hand,thanking the Academy, the Nation, their great-grandmothers and uncle Oscar. "La repetition", along with "La pianiste" and "Irreversible" (all three -by coincidence?- french-speaking), was an oasis in a series of routine films, which I saw recently. Those of you who have had enough of visual effects and the garrulity of films which have actually nothing to say may as well turn to films like "La repetition", which succeeds in making a point even when it remains silent. I am now looking for director Corsini's other films, and I am only too curious to find out how some other director, who will also reflect upon the subject of a woman's love for another woman, will deal with it.
Saw the film at the Festival du film français in Seoul. Although the film is slow at the start, it gives the audience a pretty good background of friendship (or relationship) of the characters, Natalie and Louise on which the film is based on. Natalie is an accomplished theatre actress and Louise tries to achieve her dream through Natalie's career... The 2 actresses (Béart et Brussières)did an excellent job portraying very different characters. The screenplay wasn't as original as I've expected yet the acting really makes up this disadvantage. A very enjoyable drama.
The story draws a lot from movies such as Single White Female and "Harry un ami qui vous veut du bien", except that none of the drama that these two movies contain is present : no murder or madness here, everything is strictly psychological. When ending credits starts rolling, this gives the impression that the movie has been really pointless. Acting is very good though.
This well built French drama clearly narrates a story of a passion. I
"La répetition" is one of the best films that have ever been made on the
passion of a woman to another one. The interesting point about that is the
passion has not got counter-love or passion from the desired
A story of women, from a woman which reflects perfectly, the ununderstandable relation of passion, hate and rivalry between two friends.
To list everything that is right about this film would take forever. The cast, the performances, the direction, the cinematography are all first rate, it looks good and is well-packaged. BUT! There is something frustratingly unsatisfying, or I should say a number of somethings, which combine to bring down what would otherwise be a terrific film. On the most superficial level the lack of any sympathetic characters makes it difficult like this film, but having watched it a second time it became clear that this was intentional with the characters' flaws being the basis of the drama. This however raises a second problem as a very thin plot has to be spun out using characters that the audience care nothing about. The script itself is clunky (Both with and without subtitles!)and this makes La Repetition ultimately a poor film that might so easily have been a triumph. It is baffling that so many talented people should have looked at this script and thought that it could have worked. Perhaps one day someone will remake this film with a decent script.
A moody bisexual actress and a suicidal lesbian dentist walk into a bar...no, unfortunately this is not a comedy. The two women, who have been friends since childhood, break up for reasons that are unclear. Then they get back together. Then they break up for reasons that are unclear. Then they get back together. La Rinse. La Repeat. This may well be the most mind-numbingly boring film ever to come out of France. Beart plays a stage actress who has no acting talent and who apparently acts in some of the worst plays ever written. At one point she develops a belly ache, but sadly no alien pops out of her stomach to breathe some life into this plot less snooze-fest.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There is a line, perhaps thin, perhaps not, between insulting a
viewer's intelligence by excessive explanation of character motivation
in a film, and leaving a viewer completely baffled by exhibiting
bizarre behavior for which there appears no plausible motivation, and
there is nothing in the screenplay to give us a clue as to why the
characters acted as they did. True art consists of exactly the right
balance: leaving enough clues in the script to give us at least a hint
of why characters act as they do, without hitting us over the head with
it and overexplaining.
This bizarre French film falls firmly in the camp of underexplanation. We meet two friends, Nathalie and Louise, as young women, and early in the film, Louise abruptly cuts off Nathalie completely, without explanation to either her or us. Louise doesn't even tell Nathalie herself; she leaves it to her mother to tell Nathalie that she doesn't want to see her again. An unspecified number of years later, but when both are adults and Louise is a dentist and Nathalie an up and coming actress, Louise looks up Nathalie after a performance, and after a rocky start, the friendship is resumed. At this point the film's title becomes the spoiler, because we know that the act of dumping is going to occur again. The only suspense lies in who is going to dump whom this time around. The women go to bed together a couple of times, but in both cases this is really a sideline to their heterosexual interests. Sure enough, another dumping does occur, again without any apparent motivation or explanation, although I won't tell you who dumps whom this time since most people who read this will have already seen the film. In case you haven't, it seems to be shown occasionally on cable on the Sundance Channel, which is where I saw it. If you live in the US, chances of seeing it in a theater are nil, since it doesn't appear to have received any kind of commercial release in the US.
The problem with this film is the screenplay. It is well acted by the two leads and the supporting cast, well directed, and has good location shots in Paris and Copenhagen. The director should have sent the screenplay back for revision so that a coherent story could have been developed. As it stands now, this film is only of minor interest--perhaps if you are a Beart-ophile, as I am--but otherwise it's pointless drivel.
How not to think of Herbert Ross's "the turning point" where Ann Bancroft fulfilled her ambitions when her friend Shirley McLaine became a housewife?Okay,the French movie has the lesbian side but even that has become so natural now (remember Claude Chabrol's "les biches" ,1967).But whereas Herbert Ross's story was interesting and entertaining,Catherine Corsini's work is stodgy ,pretentious,cold and so intellectual it's sometimes unbearable .It makes me think of the worst hour of the nouvelle vague.Sure Emmanuelle Beart is a beautiful actress,but elsewhere .Pick up Claude Chabrol's "l'enfer" or FRançois Ozon's "8 femmes "instead.Or De Palma's "Mission :Impossible" for those whose tastes run that way.
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