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Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé (2005)

The fifty years old Jean-Claude has a boring life, working in a notary office of his own and as court official evicting tenants or seizing properties, or spending the Sundays afternoons in ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jean-Claude
... Françoise
Georges Wilson ... Le père de Jean-Claude
Lionel Abelanski ... Thierry, le fiancé de Françoise
Cyril Couton ... Le fils de Jean-Claude
Geneviève Mnich ... La mère de Françoise
Hélène Alexandridis ... La soeur de Françoise
Anne Benoît ... La secrétaire
Olivier Claverie ... Le dragueur cours de tango
Marie-Sohna Condé ... Rose Diakité (as Marie-Sonha Condé)
Isabelle Brochard ... L'aide-soignante
Stéphan Wojtowicz ... Le médecin
Pedro Lombardi ... Le professeur de tango
Pascal Praud ... Journaliste sportif (voice)
Géraldine Rojas ... Danseuse tango spectacle
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Storyline

The fifty years old Jean-Claude has a boring life, working in a notary office of his own and as court official evicting tenants or seizing properties, or spending the Sundays afternoons in the retirement home with his sour, rude and bitter father. When he has a minor heart problem, his doctor advises him to exercise, and Jean-Claude begins to have tango lessons in a studio in front of his office. He meets the charming forty and something years old Françoise, who is also having classes for her wedding party, and she recalls she was her neighbor in her childhood. They become close and love flourishes between them, changing their lives. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

12 October 2005 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Inte här för att bli älskad  »

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Much subtlety and humanity in a very downbeat minimalist framework
12 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

Stéphane Brizé's Not Here to Be Loved /Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé is the mournful character study of an aging, divorced court bailiff (a hussier de justice) who hand-delivers eviction notices and requisitions property -- a distasteful job and business passed on by his father which he understandably hates -- and on weekends goes to a retirement home where his father -- the dad from hell, whom it's utterly impossible to please -- makes cruel remarks to him. Life has little to offer the dour and unsmiling Jean-Claude till he starts going across the street from his office to attend a tango class (first glimpsed enticingly from afar like the dance studio in Almodóvar's Talk to Me). There he meets and starts seeing a much younger woman.

At his first class, he's approached by another student, Francoise (Anne Consigny), not because she's attracted to him but because his mother babysat for her when she was little. She's supposed to be marrying a schoolteacher named Thierry (Lionel Abelanski) whom she's already living with, not altogether happily. He has taken off half a year to write a book and does nothing but complain about how badly it's going. Francoise is obviously as displeased with Thierry as Jean-Claude is with his entire life. Both suffer with what the French call "mal de vie." Francoise and Jean-Claude are both bottled up and with their awkward silences they send confused signals to each other.

The movie isn't a happy ride but develops conviction and a subtle life-affirming feel thanks to the nuanced performance of sad-faced Patrick Chesnais – which got him nominated for a Best Actor César last year. Perhaps one of the reasons the French can make a film like this is their well-established willingness to see aging, unhandsome men as potentially attractive to the likes of Emmanuelle Béart and Catherine Deneuve. Chesnais has a kind of dignity that neither his deeply lined face nor his hangdog manner can erase. Anne Consigny is subtle as the lady friend, and longtime veteran film actor George Wilson is formidable as the hateful and ultimately pathetic father. Minimalist and depressing this film is, but not boring, because director and cast wring the ultimate riches from every moment.

There is much subtlety and humanity in this film, whose minimal plot and minimalist style give the actors and their characters maximum room for development within a narrow but compellingly real range of emotion. But for some the result may be a bit overshadowed by other treatments of shut-down male characters like Daniel Auteuil's violin-maker in Claude Sautet's luminous Un coeur en hiver. It seems possible that indeed this film in the series will not be picked up for US distribution because it's so downbeat. If so, a pity, because this movie is not only a subtle character study but one that's very French.

(Shown as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York's Lincoln Center in March 2006; Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé opened in Paris October 12, 2005.)


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