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L'idole (2002)

Zao, a retired cook living alone in an apartment. His day-to-day life consists mostly of routine; he meets with a fellow retiree, waters his plants, etc. But his predictable lifestyle is ... See full summary »




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Cast overview:
Sarah Silver
Jean-Paul Roussillon ...
Roger Castellac
Jalil Lespert ...
Marie Loboda ...
Jany Gastaldi ...
Madame Bordas
Liliane Rovère ...
Rémy Roubakha ...
Le taxi
Esse Lawson ...
La femme-flic
Fred Cacheux ...
Le flic
Olivier Augrond ...
Le pompier


Zao, a retired cook living alone in an apartment. His day-to-day life consists mostly of routine; he meets with a fellow retiree, waters his plants, etc. But his predictable lifestyle is thrown for a loop with the arrival of Sarah (Sobieski), a free-spirited girl who instantly captures the interest and attention of virtually everyone in the building. Zao lives the closest to Sarah, so when she has an electrical problem, she asks for his help. They get to talking, and soon find themselves spending more and more time together. Written by Lament

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Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

29 January 2003 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A bálvány  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Temple of the Clouds
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User Reviews

Uncoventional and interesting French film
19 April 2011 | by See all my reviews

While this is no masterpiece, the many negative comments here are rather perplexing. This is a French film about two foreigners living in Paris, an Australian woman who is quite literally a "drama queen" (she's a theatrical understudy having an affair with her director who happens to be married to the actress she's the understudy for) and a stoic, elderly Chinese man with painful memories of his youth during WWII. Their friendship has a care-giving element(on his part) and an erotic element (on her part). They are too far separated by age and culture to have any kind of conventional romantic relationship, yet they still create a kind of symbiotic but destructive dynamic that lonely and desperate lovers often do.

I'm sure neither actor speaks French perfectly, but since they are PLAYING foreigners I don't know why that is a big problem. James Hong who plays the Chinese man is a veteran character actor who handles his character quite well and gives him a quiet tragic depth that is only slowly revealed over the whole course of the film. Leelee Sobieski is a little more problematic. Her self-destructive character is a little ill-defined in the first place, and she has the same problem here she had later in the "Turn of the Screw" adaptation "In a Dark Place": She's tackling a very erotic role here, but she often seems inhibited and uncomfortable (i.e. she has a long but rather innocuous nude scene at one point, but she also rather implausibly keeps her clothes on during all her many sex scenes). She's not exactly in her element here obviously, but she is used better here than she was in her Hollywood films like "Never Been Kissed" where she plays a stunning beauty. . . uh, I mean a gawky loser who can't get a date. God knows, this is better that THAT movie and other crap she was in like "The Glass House".

This is certainly not your typical French movie. At one point the Sobieski character gets in trouble with her neighbors (shades from Polanski's "The Tenant") for having sex too loudly. Judging how the beautiful people in French films typically act, you'd think she'd get in trouble for not having sex loudly ENOUGH. And aside from Sobieski and her married lover, most of the people in this movie are actually pretty physically unattractive, certainly not what you'd expect from a FRENCH film. This is an unconventional and interesting film.

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