Martin is a middle-aged philosophy teacher in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Lacking direction or purpose in his life, he initiates an affair with Cécilia, a young artist's model who might...
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Laura is a 19-year-old university freshman who desperately wants to do well in school. She works a part-time job but cannot make ends meet. One evening in which she is short of funds, she ... See full summary »
Photographer O's lover takes her to a Château, where she is, like other women there, naked, humiliated by whipping, sexual abuse by men etc. When O leaves, her lover gives her to his much older step-brother.
'Kurt' claims to be a sales rep. He also claims to be English in spite of his heavy Italian accent. Kurt is an habitual liar and a dangerous driver, at the very least. In the south of ... See full summary »
Isild Le Besco,
Jacques Laurent made pornographic films in the 1970s and '80s, but had put that aside for 20 years. His artistic ideas, born of the '60s counter-culture, had elevated the entire genre. ... See full summary »
Angela an illegal immigrant living in Los Angeles stumbles across Bill, a disgraced banker on the run.Through sex, conversation ranging from politics to philosophy, and other worldly pleasures, Angela introduces Bill to another worldview.
Martin is a middle-aged philosophy teacher in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Lacking direction or purpose in his life, he initiates an affair with Cécilia, a young artist's model who might have killed her former lover with the intensity of her sexual appetite. They share a purely erotic relationship as an intellectual abyss separates them. Before long, he needs to possess her and cannot resist a sharp descent into violent jealousy.Written by
Abstinence is turning you sour; give it up.
Really? Do I know her?
No, I met her in odd circumstances a few weeks ago.
Really? You must be pleased.
You're quite wrong, I don't like her at all. She's totally uninteresting. I'm trying to get rid of her.
Why? Is she ugly?
Is she stupid then?
No. Not at all. She never says anything stupid. It's complicated. She bores me. I have no contact with her. Or rather only physical contact.
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When you adapt a work by Alberto Moravia to the screen, you know that human detachment, alienation or themes thereof are going to dominate.
That's what happens in 'L'Ennui' -- characters driven by excess, searching for the unsearchable or the unreachable. The ambiguity of the word 'ennui' fits very well: in English translation, the word can mean not only boredom but also human emptiness. This is what I believe director Cedric Kahn was aiming for, and he's certainly on target.
This is a descent into an obsessive abyss by Martin, played by Charles Berling with such frenetic neuroticism that he all but leaps off the screen. He lives and suffers through the lives of others. He meets Cecilia, a 17-year-old artist's model, stunningly portrayed by Sophie Guilleman. Martin asks questions about the artist, who died shortly after an obsessive love affair with Sophie. Despite his extensive intellectual training in philosophy (a Moravia-Kahn 'in-joke' here), Martin cannot fathom the emotional emptiness of Cecilia, who is a character straight out of, well, the existential literature of Moravia and Camus (Cecilia reminded me of the latter's Mersault in 'L'Etranger,' a classic study of human detachment).
Martin asks Cecelia endless questions about emotional matters, but she cannot answer them. She only understands transient forms of pleasure (never 'happiness'), and her laissez-faire attitude drives Martin into increasing levels of madness. He thinks he loves her, but he has no understanding of love at all, and cannot find the centre of Cecilia's amiable indifference. He screams about 'possessing' her, as if she were a commodity. She neither loves nor hates him; she is simply neutral, which Martin cannot grasp.
This is a brilliant work on a difficult subject, although it's perhaps about 20 minutes too long. Slowly and meticulously, Kahn unpeels the layers of the endless human dilemma called love.
Once again, the French have delivered a film that just wouldn't see the light of day in Hollywood. I can hear the producers in LaLaLand now: who wants to pay for a film that focuses on a basic philosophical problem: the nature of human existence? Fortunately, we can still see these kinds of films, but they'll never come from Hollywood.
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