A working-class teenager (Jean-Hughes Anglade) conceives a ferocious, masochistic passion for the thuggish hustler (Vittorio Mezzogiorno) who works the local train station. This 1983 French film, by opera and theater director Patrice Chereau, portrays brute physical desire with a force rare in movies, yet Chereau seems unsure whether homosexuality is his subject or his metaphor (for an impossible love)—a hesitation that introduces an annoying element of abstraction into an otherwise admirably concrete situation. Chereau excels at portraying the irrational pull of desire, making Mezzogiorno a teasingly elusive figure in his mise-en-scene in a way that forces the spectator to identify with Anglade's urge to pin him down and possess him. An added subtheme of voyeurism brings the film surprisingly close to the metaphysical cat-and-mouse of Hitchcock's Vertigo. With Claude Berri and Roland Bertin.
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