Romain is a very successful fashion photographer who's diagnosed with terminal cancer. He copes by being cruel and nasty to those he loves, until a visit with his grandmother changes his outlook. But, his boyfriend's moved out, now what?
Haiti, late 1970's. Sea, sex and sun for Ellen, Brenda and Sue, three North American ladies, on the wrong side of forty or fifty-odd, going through an enchanted interlude. Lonely, forsaken, neglected by men in their native countries, they can indulge here in carnal exultation without shame, thanks to handsome local young men they pay a few dollars. Ellen is a Boston French literature professor, Brenda, an unfulfilled wife from Savannah, Georgia and Sue, a sexually frustrated but good-natured Canadian factory worker. In this second garden of Eden they don't care too much about the neighboring poverty nor about Baby Doc's violent dictatorship. The trouble is that that two of the three women have sights on a single man, Legba. And Legba is beginning to be fed up with being a stud... Written by
Visa d'exploitation en France: #107737. See more »
When Brenda is desperately looking for Legba and she wanders around the village at night, one of the guys she crosses by is wearing a Larry Johnson NBA New York Knicks basketball jacket with number 2. Larry Johnson played for the Knicks in the mid '90s. See more »
Everything was fine 'til you got here. We led a simple life. Then you arrived, lugging along your romantic love, your goddam syrupy love. You convinced yourself Legba was the love of your life. You wanted him all to yourself. Well, let me tell you something, you're no better than the rest of us. We're all here for a good time, that's all. But we don't kid ourselves, we don't cheat. We don't think you can just show up and upset the whole apple cart just because some kid gave you an orgasm.
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Laurent Cantet's new film reminds me a little of those Graham Greene novels about well-meaning Westerners who get mixed up in disastrous situations in third-world countries; think of The Quiet American, Our Man In Havana, or The Comedians, set in Haiti also. For the confused capitalist white men, Cantet substitutes middle-aged randy white women soaking up the sun and Tequila Sunrises outside Port-au-Prince. Thankfully there is very little political theory being spouted by the main characters, although Ellen cannot resist some harsh comments directed at Brenda late in the film.
Charlotte Rampling as Ellen has relatively few scenes, but leaves a great impression as a college professor whose value in the sexual marketplace shoots up when she leaves Boston for the tropics. She doesn't seem very bitter about this, just accepts it as part of the aging process. Karen Young is new to me, most of her work has been done for TV. Her part is different, more spiritual, less grounded in the realities of here and now. She has less inner resources to cope with the chaos and violence of Haiti. Louise Portal is one of my favorite Quebec actresses, known to foreign viewers through Denis Arcand's very funny Decline of The American Empire. Here she plays a woman who is simpler than Ellen or Brenda, happier and less conflicted about growing old.
Cantet's direction of actors and description of the poverty and desperation, as well as the beauty of the Haitian locales is very effective. I wondered what he was going to do after Time Out, that wintry cry of despair from the French Alps, and he hasn't disappointed me.
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