Valérie Donzelli. I first caught her work at the FSLC's Rendez-vous With French Cinema some years back, when her charming and psychologically very-smart rom-com, The Queen of Hearts made its New York debut. The next thing I saw from her was the even more compelling (but, for my money, not quite as successful Declaration of War). Now comes her most dangerous (and maybe her most interesting) movie, MARGUERITE & JULIEN, which tackles, in a riot of seemingly differing time frames, the still taboo topic of a brother-sister love that goes, yes, all the way.
Jérémie Elkaïm (below). In Declaration of War, that love is directed at the couple's child, who comes down with a brain tumor, and the pair does everything in its power to save the kid. Now, in her latest work, that love has gone big-time rogue. As opposed to her "War" film, in which you can do just about anything for love of your young child and audiences will cheer your every move, here her lovers go up against the entire society -- church, state, family and the bourgeoisie -- yet are determined to have what they want and need despite the costs.
Anaïs Demoustier (above, and most recently of Bird People and The New Girlfriend), who plays his sister/lover. The two are strong performers under most circumstances; here, their strength is especially necessary. Elkaïm broods with the best of the French actors, while Demoustier uses her quiet demeanor and plainspoken strength as a force to finally be reckoned with.
IFC Films, after a very limited theatrical release, the movie makes its DVDebut this Tuesday, July 12 -- for purchase and/or rental.