Friday, September 19, 2008

Nue Propriété (Private Propriety)

So, you think you have seen dysfunctional… then, if you have not seen this movie probably not. This is one of the most dysfunctional family drama that I have seen lately (if not ever) with the drama built mainly with the actors performances, which makes it even harder… not to see, but to feel it as here you’ll feel absolute everything. If you do not relate or believe what I’m saying just let me tell you who the star of this film is: Isabelle Huppert! Now you believe it, isn’t?

This Joachim Lafosse film tells about Pascale (Isabelle Huppert) divorced ten years ago that lives with her adult twin sons, sensitive mother alike François and explosive father alike Thierry, both played by real life brothers Yannick Renier and Jérémie Renier respectively. Pascale wants to sell the large house and estate to open a B&B somewhere else as she finally decides to start her life again, but from that moment on everything just implodes.

According to what I read one of the main characters is the house and you totally see it in the screen with almost all the scenes in the movie happening there as is the place where they share their common moments, that include the presence of the absent father. By the way this is another film with a terrible title translation as the literal translation is related to a French legal term that describes a partial propriety (against total propriety) and means a propriety that you can use but cannot get profit from it (i.e. sell it). This term is basic to understand why the father really is always there even when absent, but also that each member of the family “owns” their own self, but cannot dispose of their own self.

Of course I decided to see this movie just because Isabelle Huppert and her performance is more than outstanding as a quite silent character that tells everything with her silences and facial expressions. Then the Renier brothers’ have very good performances, but is Jérémie who really has the flashier role.

There is one early moment in the movie where you’re totally lost as you really dislike all the characters and try to find motives to excuse the mother actions, understand the adult sons behavior and make sense of everything. I suggest that if happens to you just relax and let the story continue as in the end obviously everything makes sense.

The film as a film is great with spectacular cinematography and the end is one of the most visually astonishing scenes that I have seen in a long time, which also closes the story in the most cinematic way and leaves you speechless. Then framing is quite interesting as the director allows the performers to be totally or partially out of the frame in many crucial moments where the drama could require them to be totally in the scene.

The movie was in competition for the Golden Lion at the 2006 Venice Film Festival where won an Honorable Mention in the SIGNIS Award.

This is a typical excellent French drama that is best suited for those that love and appreciate extraordinary French cinema and do not mind what may look like an abrupt end. Then for those that love Isabelle Huppert performances this absolutely is a must be seen movie.


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