Monday, June 08, 2009

Le Cahier Volé (The Stolen Diary)

This 1993 Christine Limpinska movie based on a short story written by Régine Deforges is a “strange” movie for me as tries to go so many places while avoiding going into the explicit romance and that doesn’t make much sense as a film and particularly much less as a French film. Then Deforges is recognized as an erotic writer but I couldn’t tell from Limpinska adaptation, as there is nothing erotic in the film and as matter of fact she decided to do some scenes that looked like she got inspiration from David Hamilton G-rated photography’s that are beautiful to watch but nothing else.

The film set after WWII in one summer in a small provincial French village tells about Virginie experimenting love for the first time and three childhood friends that are in love with her, Anne, Maurice and Anne’s brother Jacques. But she’s in love with “Paul” as she writes in her diary. As you can easily imagine, Paul is Anne but unfortunately there is nothing in the film that really explains why she writes in masculine and as with many other things, the director leaves the viewer to fill the gaps with whatever prejudice or reasons you wish to think.

I particularly found the end to be out of touch with the broken story and with the little development of Anne’s character, as I couldn’t find a believable reason to make Anne a victim; so it was no surprise to find that in the original Deforges story the end is different and because Limpinska was impressed with the large amount of adolescent suicides in France she decided to change the end. But the artistic license does not make any sense within the story. If you feel like reading more about the movie check the book Cinema and the Second Sex by Carrie Tarr and Brigitte Rollet, pages 33 and 34.

Performances are not exceptional, but I couldn’t help enjoying watching a very young Benoît Magimel playing the recent released from the war camps Maurice; for me that’s about the only good thing in this movie, as tech specs are on the not so good side -especially editing and the script.

Definitively not a great French movie that perhaps could have been better if the script respected the original story, had a better director and a lot better actors’ performances. Still I know that some of you would like to watch the film, but I can only recommend it as a good opportunity to watch young Benoît Magimel


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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