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Les fantômes d'Ismaël (2017)

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The story follows a filmmaker whose life is sent into a tailspin by the return of a former lover just as he is about to embark on the shoot of a new film.

Director:

Arnaud Desplechin

Writers:

Arnaud Desplechin (scenario & dialogue), Julie Peyr (scenario & dialogue) | 1 more credit »
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mathieu Amalric ... Ismaël Vuillard
Marion Cotillard ... Carlotta Bloom
Charlotte Gainsbourg ... Sylvia
Louis Garrel ... Ivan Dedalus
Alba Rohrwacher ... Arielle / Faunia
László Szabó ... Henri Bloom
Hippolyte Girardot ... Zwy
Jacques Nolot ... Claverie
Catherine Mouchet ... Le médecin soins intensifs
Samir Guesmi ... Le médecin
Mélodie Richard Mélodie Richard
Marc Prin Marc Prin ... Jacques (Diplomate 1)
Bruno Todeschini ... Responsable sécurité Tadjikistan
Pascal Ternisien Pascal Ternisien ... Robert (Diplomate 2)
Philippe Fretun Philippe Fretun ... Mathieu (Diplomate 3)
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Storyline

Twenty-one years ago, she ran away. And twenty-one years later, Carlotta (Marion Cotillard) is back from the void. But Ismael (Mathieu Amalric) has been busy rebuilding a life for himself with Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and working on his next feature film. As Ismael's trials and tribulations unfurl, so too do those of his film's protagonist: the idle, funny and reckless diplomat Ivan Dédalus (Louis Garrel). The character is a nod to the ghost of another of Desplechin's creations, the brother of Paul Dédalus, three-time hero of "My Sex Life - or How I Got Into an Argument," "A Christmas Tale" and "My Golden Days." A film within a film - and then some, Desplechin layers narrative upon narrative. With ISMAEL'S GHOSTS, Desplechin returns once more to the past, creating film after film as his way of stepping back in time, and proving yet again that his brand of genius lies in his ability to find light in the darkest of places. Written by Magnolia Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality including some graphic nudity, language, and brief strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

23 March 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ismael's Ghosts See more »

Filming Locations:

Roubaix, Nord, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,158, 25 March 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$102,510, 24 May 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Marion Cotillard's second collaboration with Arnaud Desplechin. She had a small role in My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996), which starred Mathieu Amalric. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Top actresses lost in messy screenplay
30 May 2017 | by Ruben MooijmanSee all my reviews

The basis for a good film is always a good screenplay. Because the screenplay of 'Les fantômes d'Ismaël' is a mess, the film is a failure. What is undoubtedly meant as an intelligent multi-layered story highlighting the many aspects in the life of a film maker, is in reality an incomprehensible hodgepodge of subplots going nowhere.

Right from the very beginning, the viewer is confused. The first few scenes are not scenes from the film we're watching, but from a film within the film, which is being shot by lead character Ismaël. The main plot item, however, is the return of his wife, who has been missing for 20 years and was presumed dead. This in itself can be fine material for a well-acted drama, exploring the way the husband, his girlfriend and his long lost wife cope with this new situation. With multiple award winning actresses like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marion Cotillard on hand, this would seem to be the most logical option.

Instead, the viewer is offered a myriad of increasingly complicated side-stories, flash backs and dream-like sequences, culminating in a laughable scene of the tormented film maker shooting his own executive producer by accident. I have no doubt this film tries to make a point, but I'm afraid only the director knows which one. Unless you're a fan of French pseudo-intellectual art-house dramas, this film is to be avoided.


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