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The Untouchable (2006)

L'intouchable (original title)
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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 overview, first billed only:
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 ...
Susheel Kumar Batra ...
Le père de Mani
Rakesh Sharma ...
Anpar, le père de Jeanne
Homme Géorgien
Samuel Sogno ...
Acteur théâtre


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

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Release Date:

6 December 2006 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Dalit - Intocável  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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

Muse madness
19 February 2007 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

It's beginning to look as if Benoît Jacquot's fascination with the sloe-eyed young Isild Le Besco is leading him astray. À tout de suite, his last film, like this one featuring her as the main character, started up promisingly as a criminal love story but then wandered off into an aimless travelogue. Here he depicts his muse taking a quick trip to India to find her long-lost, never-met dad. But this time the film starts off without much of a pulse, and then wanders of. . .into an aimless travelogue. Maybe it's time to go out and look for a more solid scenario, instead of finding excuses to show off Isild's nice breasts and bum. The former are featured in the first half, when the character Le Besco plays, a mediocre film actress, is being shot having simulated sex. The latter comes in for loving examination when, while in India in search of her father, she lies down for a naked massage and gets oiled up. Whatever "untouchable" means, it doesn't refer to the camera's relationship to Isild Le Besco's body. The breasts and the bum are very nice indeed. But their inclusion in this film is blatantly gratuitous. In between the body shots, there are some nice ones of Isild's striking but not always very expressive face. It's often inexpressive here because she isn't allowed to react much, except when she's (over-) playing Saint Joan and in a scene when she meets a French nun (Caroline Champetier, also the cinematographer) whose gay brother has come to India to visit her.

But that excitement comes later. First, Jeanne (Le Besco) has a birthday, and after she blows out the candles on her cake she's washing the dishes when her mother (Bérangère Bonvoisin) tells her that her father was a man she met traveling in India and that he was an untouchable. Hearing this, she gives up being rehearsed in Brecht's Saint Joan of the Stockyards by her lover (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing). She needs money for her trip so she goes to her agent (Manuel Munz) and accepts a film role she had previously rejected (the sex scene) to get an advance. Shooting the scene is like a "calvary" for her, or at least that is the director's intention. It might be one for the viewer as well, were it not for the breasts, and it's hard to distinguish a suffering actress from a bad actress. If she's an actress at all, couldn't she pretend to be feeling pleasure? But instead in a sense she remains "untouchable." If this is self-conscious and awkward film-making, so is the fact that a sage elder untouchable (Yaseen Khan) just happens to be sitting next to Jeanne on her flight to India. He explains that some untouchables are very rich. He is mysteriously spirited away during the flight, which is left unexplained. When Jeanne gets to Benares, she finds the family of her father, evidently one of the rich ones, with astonishing speed. A young family member named Mani (Parikshit Luthra) approaches her while she's watching corpses being ritually cremated by the Ganges and though she says she doesn't want to, he arranges for her to come to the family seat where relatives are soon to assemble for a daughter's wedding. Her father, Anpar (Rakesh Sharma), turns out not to have come. She goes to the town where he teaches school and watches him in the classroom, but, giving "untouchable" a third meaning, she follows him later but then turns away, and flies back to Paris where her theater director lover, who picks her up, is pledged not to ask her any questions about what has happened. While À tout de suite was shot in DV black and white, this film was shot in 16 mm. Jacquot manages to avoid conventional prettiness in the Indian sequences, but it is hard not to see some of them as repetitive and ill-lit. Longeurs outweigh moments of perception in this self-indulgent, lazy film.

Deborah Young's review of The Untouchable in Variety describes it as "A strong candidate for empty French art film of the year." It indeed seems astonishingly slight coming from the maker of Seventh Heaven, The School of Flesh, and Sade. This is at least Jacquot's fourth film in which Le Besco figures, each with increasing importance, but diminishing effect. She is beginning to seem like a damaging obsession for the director as well as a proto-Adjani. Happily it seems Jacquot's next project, Le beau monde, features Fanny Ardent and Isabelle Huppert.

Opened in Paris Decenber 6, 2006. To be shown at the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center March 8 and 10, at the IFC Center March 7, 2007. US distributor Strand Releasing.

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