Thieves | Chicago Reader

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Writer-director Andre Techine was on a roll: after My Favorite Season (1993) and Wild Reeds (1994) came this picture, which in some ways was even more exciting and serious (1996, 117 min.) The story, which involves a family of thieves based in a mountainous region of southeast France, jumps between characters so as to frame the same events from different vantage points, as in a Faulkner novel. The plot centers on an abortive car heist, but the thriller elements are secondary to the explorations of character. The younger brother (Daniel Auteuil), rebelling against his older brother (Didier Bezace) and his father, has become a cop in Lyons, where he becomes sexually involved with the troubled sister (Laurence Cote) of a thief (Benoit Magimel) who's in league with his brother. To complicate matters further, the sister is a former mistress of the older brother and is also involved with a philosophy teacher (Catherine Deneuve). Auteuil and Deneuve costarred as brother and sister in My Favorite Season, and it's remarkable how different they are here. Cote—best known in this country for her work with Rivette (The Gang of Four, Up Down Fragile) and Godard (Nouvelle vague)—is equally sensational. An exquisite, haunting movie for grown-ups about love and family ties. Gilles Taurand, Michel Alexandre, and Pascal Bonitzer all collaborated with Techine on the powerful script. In French with subtitles.

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