Lucie Audibert, a student of Art History, does research work on Watteau. She is persuaded that a hidden sense that nobody has ever deciphered can be found in a few of his paintings. The ...
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Lucie Audibert, a student of Art History, does research work on Watteau. She is persuaded that a hidden sense that nobody has ever deciphered can be found in a few of his paintings. The further she proceeds the more professor Jean Dussart - for unclear reasons - tries to discourage her. But Lucie is persistent, even stubborn, and, aided by Vincent, a mute street mime, she manages to attain her goal in spite of everything. Written by
This was shown on World Movies last night. I didn't quite know what to expect, but I thought it might be something like Possession, the excellent novel by A S Byatt which was made into a much less good film; i.e., a story in which a present-day researcher solves a mystery about some aspect of the life of a historical figure. Well, it is that: the historical figure is the painter Watteau, and the present-day researcher is Lucie Audibert, who is played charmingly by Sylvie Testud.
There's a side-story about a deaf-mute mime who does his act outside Lucie's work, and with whom she strikes up a relationship. It adds little to the film, although there seems to be some real chemistry between Lucie and the mime, Vincent, played by James Thiérrée.
I found it quite compelling. The pictures on the screen are beautiful: the cinematography is by Jean-Marc Selva, which is not a name I had ever heard before, but it one I'll look out for in the future. The story moves along steadily, never hurriedly, and an atmosphere of tension is gradually created and built. Although Watteau is long dead, there's a sense of sadness and loss at the part of his life that is revealed, which is complemented and counterpointed by the sadness and almost desperation that surrounds Lucie's. Sylvie Testud is superb. She's as thin as a sparrow and not particularly pretty, but one of the things I like about French films in general and this one in particular is that they are about (not always, of course, but quite often) rather ordinary-looking people who are shown to be men and women of substance.
I've given it a score of 8 out of 10. I'd prefer to have given it 7.5, but that's not possible, and it's better than a 7. It's not a great film, but it's a very thoughtful one.
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