6.6/10
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Les amants criminels (1999)

Modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel. After committing a murder, a young couple on the run find refuge in a remote cottage in the woods, where they become trapped by the perverse hermit who lives there.

Director:

François Ozon

Writers:

François Ozon (scenario and dialogue), Marcia Romano (scenario interventions) | 4 more credits »

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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natacha Régnier ... Alice
Jérémie Renier ... Luc
Predrag 'Miki' Manojlovic ... L'homme de forêt (as Miki Manojlovic)
Salim Kechiouche ... Saïd
Yasmine Belmadi Yasmine Belmadi ... Karim
Bernard Maume Bernard Maume ... Le professeur
Jean-Louis Debard Jean-Louis Debard ... Le gardien de nuit
Catherine Vierne Catherine Vierne ... La vendeuse de bijoux
Marielle Coubaillon Marielle Coubaillon ... L'hôtesse du supermarché
Olivier Papot Olivier Papot ... Le policier
Gil Demurger ... Le GIGN (as Gil de Murger)
Agnès Accaria Agnès Accaria
Ranzi Adjeri Ranzi Adjeri
Brigitte Albuquerque Brigitte Albuquerque
Martihino Albuquerque Martihino Albuquerque
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Storyline

After a perverted impulse drives them to kill, Alice and her boyfriend, Luc, drag the body into the woods, only to find themselves hopelessly lost - much like the fairy-tale plight of Hansel and Gretel. Starving and with no hope of being found, they chance upon a dilapidated cottage where a hulking man takes them prisoner and proceeds to feed Luc's sexual appetite. Written by Angelo Fox

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Their idea of foreplay was murder.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Strand Releasing

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

18 August 1999 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Amantes Criminosos See more »

Filming Locations:

Blanzat, Puy-de-Dôme, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,483, 23 July 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$50,470, 25 February 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Alternate Versions

The 2001 DVD release in France from Paramount contains an alternate cut of the film, running 80 mins., which places most of the events into chronological order. See more »

Connections

References When We Were Kings (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

La valse triste
Music by Oskar Nedbal
Production Koka Classic
Editions Chester Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting, but not entirely satisfying
14 January 2000 | by viereveeSee all my reviews

I like François Ozon. Or at least, I like the idea of François Ozon. I like his challenge to bourgeois morality in Sitcom - I like his attempt to integrate this challenge into a technically limiting format. However, when it comes to committing his ideas to celluloid, I don't think that Ozon's ideas quite work. Be it in his shorts for Gay Majorettes in Space or See the Sea, his pieces always come off as half-arsed, as if they'd been good ideas in his head but not on film. Les Amants Criminels/Criminal Lovers goes half way to resolving this problem. In it, we see three rather brilliant leading performances, from Natacha Régnier (La Vie Rêvée des Anges) and Jérémie Renier as the two amants and an utterly remarkable (and disturbing) one from Miki Manojlovic (Underground) as the man who traps them in the forest. Hence, the film has been described as twisted Hansel and Gretel, and that it certainly is. Whether or not it was Ozon's intention to write a modern-day fairy tale (or whether or not this comparison/allusion is important) is not clear. However, what is clear is that, on some level, he finds this funny. Therefore, the whole thing rests, to a certain extent, upon whether you share Ozon's sense of humour (remember, in Sitcom we had a rat providing the apparatus for Ozon's exposition of middle-class morés, thus introducing S&M and masturbation to the sitcom genre ... and thus attacking his whole sitcom allusion with it). I found myself laughing ... nervously, maybe, but I found it very, very funny. Chilling? Not particularly. Unsympathetic? Certainly - in fact, Regnier's character is brilliantly drawn as both repugnant and seductive. But this is also my main problem with the film, because, while it is very clever, with a great use of music and some lovely visual touches, on a human, psychological level, Ozon's film doesn't rise above the insight afforded to us by an average TV movie-of-the-week. Yes, the oppositions of the characters are clearly defined, but they're clearly defined in tabloid black-and-white. Alice may well represent the 'other' of Luc, but we are never invited to speculate (although speculate is all that we can do, given the lack of information). Luc is seduced; Alice is a neo-noir anti-heroine. But that's as far as it goes, and that's why 'Les Amants Criminels' can be no more than an interesting sideline, a piece of fluff, rather than anything more profound. Nevertheless, Ozon shows considerable visual flair, and great talent for a certain tension, and he always has that pretty sick sense of humour to fall back on should everything else fail.


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