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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 girlfriend Nathalie (Ludivine Sagnier), his political beliefs battered by the wind of history, Bruno seems to have lost his bearings. After responding to a call for help from his uncle (Jean Yanne), who is fighting a losing battle for re-election as the communist mayor of a small town near Grenoble, Bruno gets lost in a dark forest. There he meets Béatrice (Kristin Scott Thomas), who does nothing to stop him getting even more lostWritten by
Good if a bit implausible story, probably a botched attempt at narrative.
Any movie with such a cast deserves to be seen, and if directed and written by Pascal Bonizter, more so.
Auteil plays the same character we've seen him in a thousand times. He's like a caricature version of his sublime "L'Adversaire" (same rural unsettling geography). Here we know this film's genre is something close to ... a vaudeville, like Beatrice tells him near the end. Not a drama. Not a comedy. Not a crime novel, thou it pretends to be so. Never a love story, thou love or at least lust and routine relationships abound (our hero has 4 women in about 2 days, 2 of them married to dangerous people he knows...). Béatrice is a woman that's so mad that anybody sound would flee from her, but her mixture of sadness and personality is intriguing. Although personally I found her "depressive hysteric" character rather predictable. I mean, every scene in which she was with Auteil (all, for we only see her as that) we know she's going to say something high sounding (she, not him as she accuses), then allure him, rebuke him, say something depressing, make something mad, and then start again...
Jean Yanne is probably the more solid character of the movie. Yes, he plays the same poker faced small time villain we've seen at Bertrand's Je règle mon pas sur le pas de mon père (1999). But unlike his role at the already mentioned "Tenue c. e.", here there's no comic counterbalance. Just a grim manipulator. But that's fine for this movie in which you can hardly feel anything for anybody.
Emmanuelle Devos's Gaëlle is an awkward character, detached when she even offers her young "rival" rouge, a smoke, coiffure and even some love tips, and then XIX century hysterical for a guy she's just met. Her matter of fact talk at the travel agency was fine, proving, again, she's a fine actress. The whole affaire with Pascale Bussières Mathilde is outright ridiculous. Nice underwear for a serious working woman, thou :). Ludivine Sagnier's Nathalie is fine as a nincompoop teen with some principles. It's funny she did the beauty at the bad remake of "Swimming Pool"(2003). Which, again, proves she can act.
Summing up, a pity such a stellar cast and director made a film only worth watching. Hope next time they decide to make a film, not play with us. Chabrol would have done it better.
This is a movie about a pathological lier, and nobody seems to care (but maybe for Gaelle). The political running joke, in which everybody pokes fun about his political beliefs and "le Mur" is lost to me.
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