5.2/10
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6 user 5 critic

The Untouchable (2006)

L'intouchable (original title)
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1:24 | Trailer

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On the day she celebrates her birthday, Jeanne, a young actress, is told by her mother her father is an Indian she once met on the banks on the river Ganges. From then on, Jeanne acts with ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jeanne
Bérangère Bonvoisin ...
La mère de Jeanne
Marc Barbé ...
François, le metteur en scène du film
Manuel Munz ...
Agent Jeanne
Louis-Do de Lencquesaing ...
L'amant de Jeanne
Yaseen Khan ...
Passager indien
Parikshit Luthra ...
Pascal Bongard ...
Français piscine 1
Pierre Chevalier ...
Français piscine 2
Caroline Champetier ...
Muriel, religieuse sous le nom de Soeur Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus
Dablu Kumar ...
Papu
Susheel Kumar Batra ...
Le père de Mani
Rakesh Sharma ...
Anpar, le père de Jeanne
...
Homme Géorgien
Samuel Sogno ...
Acteur théâtre
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Storyline

On the day she celebrates her birthday, Jeanne, a young actress, is told by her mother her father is an Indian she once met on the banks on the river Ganges. From then on, Jeanne acts with singleness of purpose: she leaves the rehearsal of the the play "Sainte Jeanne des Abattoirs" she had wanted so much to be in, accepts a shameful role in a poor movie just for the money, buys an air ticket and flies to India, where she both hopes and fears to meet her biological father... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

6 December 2006 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Dalit - Intocável  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jeanne: Isn't your bed too small when am in it?
L'amant de Jeanne: It is too small when you are NOT in it!
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Soundtracks

Sunday
Written and Performed by David Bowie
from the album Heathen
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User Reviews

 
punishes the senses deliberately: literally untouchable
9 March 2007 | by (new york city) – See all my reviews

this film punishes the senses deliberately, subjecting its audience to a ripping gauntlet of painful visual and aural textures. our eyeballs are lacerated by the relentlessly jumpy hand-held camera, pans too swift to apprehend without nausea, and the barrage of disorientingly abrupt jump cuts. ears attacked by the harsh banausic soundtrack, pounded by soulless machinery, everything torturously intrusive and overloud, even tap water, where even sitar and tabla are twisted into instruments of pain.

jacquot's apparent rationale for this mortification of our senses is to replicate the pains of a journey of spiritual self-discovery, whose immemorial signposts feature suffering, danger, and abnegation. traditional pilgrims crippled themselves crawling to shrines on their knees. jacquot's pilgrim is a young woman, Jeanne, brought up by her single mother, never feeling at home in society or in her skin, who learns around her 18th birthday that she was conceived in Benares of an Indian father, and compulsively undertakes a voyage seeking him, her roots, herself, a voyage that she insists on financing by painful humiliation.

Isild le Besco, portraying Jeanne, provides a pitch-perfect, nail-on-chalkboard personification of the skin-shredding pilgrim. Using her acting skills and flesh mercilessly, le Besco forces us to internalize the gnawing estrangement, rage, and bafflement that eat at Jeanne like a cancer. The audience is never at ease looking at Jeanne, even when she is getting a massage. Her vulnerability is unendurable, verging always on the razor edge of victimization and violation. le Besco appears to have fattened up her body for this role, especially her hips, which works very well for it, bringing her character to the far edge of voluptuousness, on the point of losing it.

At a Lincoln Center Q&A, Jacquot emphasized repeatedly how crucial it is for a director not to be cognizant of what he is doing. For all his genuine charm, he seemed tormented by hyper-rationality, determined to rid himself of this daemon. The Untouchable, with all its scourging of the senses, seems like his desperate attempt to purge himself of it, like burning away the flesh of corpses in Benares. But doesn't that deliver the film as a triumph of just the kind of rationality that he made it to escape?

For me Jacquot's rip-tide--reason trying to trick away reason by mortifying the senses--made The Untouchable a film that i found almost too painful to watch. The theory was enjoyable to contemplate--as were moments of beauty and mystery--but his programmatic bloodying of my poor eyes and ears gave me a headache so bad that I had to fight to keep from vomiting. Nonetheless, I can't help admiring the good work, thoughtfulness, and courage (to create something so rebarbative) that went into it's creation. Would that Jacquot had trusted those moments of beauty and mystery, allowed them to take off free of the visual and aural punishment, lifted the veil of supplices.


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