Wednesday, June 27, 2012

André Téchiné's latest -- UNFORGIVABLE -- opens in New York City and Los Angeles

 
One of the reasons this year's Rendez-vous With French Cinema seemed so special is that several world-class filmmakers were represented by movies that show them working at, or close to, the top of their form: Lucas Belvaux with 38 Witnesses, Benoît Jacquot's Farewell, My Queen, Robert Guédiguian and The Snows of Kilmanjaro and André Téchiné with his newest, UNFORGIVABLE (Impardonnables).

Téchiné (shown at right) and Guédiguian are similar in the manner in which their movies often span a wide canvas of characters, though the former is never nearly so overtly political as the later. This does not mean that Techine is not political, but he always arrives there via different routes than other filmmakers. His new film is so utterly fascinating, so perfectly cast, and so full of humor, surprise, sadness and mystery (the mystery of character) that, moment to moment, I believe it may be his very best. It is also about change, and how we had better -- we must -- keep accepting, in fact, engaging it. This movie may also be the filmmaker's most accessible (for a relatively mainstream audience, at least) in some time.

Unforgivable gives the classic beauty and fine French actress Carole Bouquet (above) her best role in years as an ex-model who now deals in real estate in Venice, Italy, and early on in the film becomes involved with a writer of mysteries, played by another grand old Frenchman André Dussollier (below, left), who has come to Venice to find a way around his current writer's block.

Into the mix are introduced that remarkable Italian actress Adriana Asti (above, right), whose relationship with Bouquet goes way back; her son, a very troubled youth, played by Mauro Conte (below, right, with dog*); Dussolier's daughter, Mélanie Thierry (an equally troubled adult) and the impoverished-but-sexy Italian royalty, Andrea Pergolesi, with whom she is involved.

There are more, but these half-dozen characters are enough to set the game in motion, allowing the filmmaker (he co-adapted the scenario from the novel by Philippe Djian) to explore again, and so very well, our needs and desires, and why we betray others, even as we inevitably inflict the worst damage upon ourselves.

In a way, the movie is slice-of-life, Téchiné-style, in that it cuts a wide swatch and burrows deep. A number of unforgiveable things are done along the way, the biggest, perhaps, by the character played by Dussolier. And yet, I suspect that this filmmaker would tell us -- hell, he's shown us -- that very nearly nothing is unforgive-able. Not when we fully understand where it comes from. And Téchiné, maybe more than any other movie-maker I can think of, is always in there, probing, questioning, making sure that we do.

Unforgivable , from Strand Releasing and running 112 minutes, opens this Friday, June 29, in both Los Angeles (at Laemmle's Royal Theater, Playhouse 7 and Town Center 5) and New York City (at the Beekman and the IFC Center).

*That dog is amazing -- much better than the little guy in The Artist (same breed, too, if I am not mistaken). But this one is so incredibly lively and funny, plus he has a scene that will nearly destroy you. He's a don't-miss, all on his own.

2 comments:

Exclusively yours...for purchases, special projects said...

What is the "Dog's" name in this movie?

James van Maanen said...

Hello, EY...FP, SP--
I wish I could help you here, but as I recall (having seen the movie twice now) no name is ever given to the dog. Considering the character of the kid who "adopts" the dog, this does not seem surprising.

I also checked IMDB.com, where cast lists often give credit to animal roles (in The Artist, for instance, the cast list credits the role of The Dog as played by Uggie), but no luck there, either.

Further, given the particular filmmaker here, whom I think of as a great humanist, I suspect that, since crediting the dog will not matter one whit to the dog itself, he concerns himself with other things -- like making the best film he can.

Also, I hope that my posting of your mini-resume, embedded in your "name," results in a new client or two....