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Actrices

Actresses

France 2007
produced by
Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier for Fidélité Productions, Virtual Films, Wild Bunch, Canal+, Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC)
directed by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Noémie Lvovsky, Louis Garrel, Mathieu Amalric, Marysa Borini, Valeria Golino, Maurice Garrel, Bernard Nissile, Olivier Rabourdin, Laetitia Spigarelli, Gilles Cohen, Marie Rivière, Franck Demules, Arthur Igual, Eric Elmosnino, Robinson Stévenin, Laurent Grévill, Pascal Bongard, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Bernadette Lafont
written by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Noémie Lvovsky, Agnès de Sacy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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40 year old Marcelline (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) is a successful stage actress whose private life goes more and more off the hook: She's got no man in her life despite the fact that she wants to experience true love, she wants a child but lacks a father, and now she has been hired to star in a Russian play - Turgenyev's A Month in the Country -, which despite being about something completely else mirrors her own life (the play is about a mother falling n love withthe young private teacher of her daughter).

The play seems to drive Mercelline even more over the edge, as her whims drive her director Denis (Mathieu Amalric) crazy (so much so that he once almost rapes her despite being gay), his assistant Nathalie (Noémie Lvovsky) grows more and more jealous because Marcelline seems to be getting all the breaks that she, a former acting student herself, thinks she deserves, Marcelline's gynocologist is driven to despair by her weird views on pregnancy and motherhood, only her young co-star Eric (Louis Garrel) - he plays the young teacher - has fallen in love with her. And then Marcelline even starts to see ghosts, first those of real dead people, but after a time also the ghost of Natasha Petrovna (Valeria Golino), the character she plays in the play.

Despite all of this, the play becomes a great success, and Marcelline is actually quite good in it, but that doesn't keep her from losing touch even more, and pushing away Eric, the only one really in love with her, even if it breaks her heart to see him kissing another woman, co-star Juliette (Laetitia Spigarelli) ...

Ultimately, Marcelline runs away from a performance, just before the curtain rises, and she throws herself into the Seine. Thing is, she is an excellent swimmer, so the closing images show her swimming to shore ... Meanwhile her role on stage has been taken over by NAthalie, while director Denis goes up in tears.

A subplot involves Natalie - who has a husband and two children - trying to start an affair with Denis, despite the fact that she knows he's gay.

 

My synopsis might not suggest it, but this is a quite amusing film, actually it's grave drama done as light comedy - and against all odds this works beautifully, thanks to a witty script, great actors and a direction that is very subtle for the most part but doesn't shy away from a pie-in-the-face gag when it's least expected.

Recommended, actually.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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directed by
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written by
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starring
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