As demonstrated by My Favorite Season, Wild Reeds, and above all Thieves, Andre Techine has become the most accomplished novelistic filmmaker in contemporary French cinema. This feature may not be on the same level as those films, but it has much the same tragic and melodramatic view of family, desire, and destiny. The talented (and Oscar-winning) Juliette Binoche plays a violinist who lives with a gay actor in Paris (Mathieu Amalric) and becomes romantically involved with his illegitimate half brother (Alexis Loret), a professional model, after he moves into their flat. Loret's relative lack of acting experience is the film's biggest flaw, but it doesn't pose any fatal problems: the sheer neurotic intensity of Techine's characters—characteristically stretching both backward and forward in time, as in a Faulkner novel—holds one throughout, as does Techine's masterful direction and many of the other performances (including Carmen Maura as Loret's mother). In French, Spanish, and German with subtitles. 123 min.
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