THE NEW GIRLFRIEND -- the latest in a long line of very interesting and mostly successful (to one degree or another) films by French auteur François Ozon -- are so witty, entertaining and compact that they give you something like the entire experience of Beaches done in delightful movie shorthand. These few minutes also features two stunningly beautiful young girls (M. Ozon, below, is very handy at discovering gorgeous young performers of either gender).
Mayline Dubois and Anna Monedière -- morph into two beautiful and talented adult counterparts, Isild Le Besco (below, left) and Anaïs Demoustier (below, right). It's wonderful to see the former on screen again, while the latter is quickly garnering quite a lengthy resume of smart roles, well performed). The two play best friends since childhood, and the untimely death of one of them leaves the other, as well as the widower and his infant child, bereft. Normally, the result of all this would make for high drama or maybe middle-brow melodrama. But since the story comes from a Ruth Rendell novel adapted by Ozon, there clearly will be something different in store. And given what we know of Rendell's work, there may be some murder or crime involved.
Hitchcock seems almost willfully wrongheaded. What we have instead is one of Rendell's journeys into the psyche of an odd and misplaced person -- this time a man whose greatest happiness comes from cross-dressing as a woman.
Romain Duris, shown above and below, who gives another of his probing, insightful performances -- is the nature of cross-dressing: where it comes from, what it entails, and how the doer, as well as the world around him, must adapt to this new "stance."
Aurore Clément, above, right, plays her mom) and Demoustier's hubby (the gorgeous Raphaël Personnaz, shown below, and somewhat wasted in this role), we never get to spend the time necessary to probe David/Virginia deeply enough.
In the House is by far his most mature and exceptional movie), it's still worth a viewing, especially for fans of this singular auteur.
Cohen Media Group, in French with English subtitles, and running 108 minutes -- opens this Friday, September 18, in New York City at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema , the Bow Tie Chelsea, and the Landmark Sunshine Cinema; in Los Angeles at The Landmark; and in San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Seattle -- with a limited national rollout across the country in the weeks to come. Click here and scroll down to see currently scheduled dates, cities & theaters.