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Bernard Le Coq
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Seven lonely lives in Paris: a middle-aged estate agent who thinks a colleague is sending messages in video tapes she loans him; his co-worker whose Bible is close at hand in times of stress; her late-night charge, who's an angry, nasty bedridden old man; his son, a patient bartender; the bartender's best patron, an ex-soldier who's lost his moorings while his fiancée looks for a large flat for them; and, the estate agent's much younger sister, who answers ads in the personal and waits in cafés with a red flower pinned on her jacket. Will any connect? Can open hearts trump fears? Written by
There is a Scarborough poster in Thierry's home. The English seaside resort of Scarborough is the home of the play's author, Sir Alan Ayckbourn. See more »
When Charlotte has the tomato soup thrown at her by Arthur, the front of her blouse and sweater have large reddish stains on them. When Lionel returns home and is talking to her, the stains have disappeared. See more »
A good mix of art house appeal and mainstream entertainment
Adapted from Alan Ayckbourn's recent (2004) play, this movie has a structure that reminds me of two well known plays. The structure of some 50 short scenes brings to mind Noel Coward's "Cavalcade". Having plots revolving around 6 characters draws an obvious comparison to Luigi Pirandello's "Six characters in search of an author". But both similarities are superficial. "Private fears" is a distinctly different play.
The interrelationship between the six characters is somewhat random, but clever for this very randomness. These various relationships include real estate agent and client, office co-workers, brother/sister, part-time aged-parent-sitter and employer, engaged couple living together, bartender and familiar client, blind dates. Each character is party to two or three of these relationships. Some of these relationships we see right from the beginning; others evolve right before our eyes. Outwardly casual relationships have subtle intimacy; apparently intimate relationships turn out to be rather casual. The emotional spectrum goes from heart-breaking poignancy to hilarious farce. There is never a dull moment in this movie, (except to those who have a tendency to fall asleep UNLESS there is a car chase, an explosion or steaming sex).
"Private fears" also offers a good mix of art house appeal and mainstream entertainment. Artsy scenes, not overused, enrich the film throughout: entire scene shot from overhead, montage transformation of a conversation at a kitchen table to the snowy outdoors - just two most conspicuous examples. Nor does the movie shy away from cliché comic situations when then are called for.
This portrayal of ultimate loneliness in the urban alienation of the City of Lights is brought to the audience by an excellent cast of mostly director Alain Resnais' veterans.
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