Ruthless executive Christine brings on Isabelle as her assistant, and she takes delight in toying with the young woman's innocence. But when the protégé's ideas become tempting enough for ... See full summary »
Suzanne is a well to do married woman and mother in the south of France. Her idle bourgeois lifestyle gets her down and she decides to go back to work as a physiotherapist. Her husband ... See full summary »
Kristin Scott Thomas,
PETITES COUPURES tells the story of Bruno (Daniel Auteuil), a communist newspaper journalist suffering a mid-life crisis. Torn between his wife Gaëlle ('Emmanuel Devos') and his young ... See full summary »
Kristin Scott Thomas,
Ruthless executive Christine brings on Isabelle as her assistant, and she takes delight in toying with the young woman's innocence. But when the protégé's ideas become tempting enough for Christine to pass on as her own, she underestimates Isabelle's ambition and cunning -- and the ground is set for all out war. Written by
This is the last film directed by the late Alain Corneau, who is most famous for his magnificent film TOUS LES MATINS DU MONDE (ALL THE MORNINGS OF THE WORLD) of 1991, which introduced the magic of the viola da gamba to a wider audience than it had ever before known in modern times. (It has a deeper, more resonant, and more mellow sound than the cello, and is my favourite string instrument. Bach's 'cello' works were really written for the viola da gamba. Everyone should hear Paolo Pandolfo's recording of Bach's 'cello suites' on the proper instrument.) In this last offering of his oeuvre, Corneau explores mortal combat between female business executives, those daring ones who have penetrated the glass ceiling and are now living and struggling inside it. Kristin Scott Thomas plays Christine, a ruthless egotist who will do anything to get what she wants. She is cruel, heartless, narcissistic, and more vicious than a cobra. Working in a position below Christine is Isabelle, played by Ludivine Sagnier, whose evolution during the course of the film from a sweet, trusting creature of traditional femininity into a fighter and a killer is an amazing screen transformation. When Isabelle is publicly humiliated by Christine, she snaps. One of them has to go. The claims that this is a film noir are true. Noir is not dead, and the rare true modern versions of it are often little masterpieces, as this film is. The director does not stray off piste, but keeps us focused on the essentials with relentless determination. We never learn why Isabelle was sweet to begin with, and we never learn why Christine is so heartless. Where they came from, what their early experiences were, how they became what they are, are subjects which are entirely ignored. In this film it is action, action, action. But instead of 'action' meaning the ridiculous car crashes and explosions of so many so-called 'action films', here we have real human action. With women as the characters, 'action' does not have to constitute external phenomena as is the case with men. For women, 'action' is the deadly silent conflict between personalities, and how they outwit each other. This is a true 'psychological thriller', whereas many claims of that kind are made by films which are not all that psychological. Strategy and tactics are not exclusively male concerns expressed externally through wars. They are just as important to women, expressed internally as quiet, deadly, psychological combat. Watch and learn!
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