Co-winner of the César (the French Oscar) for Best Picture of 1983. That’s no guarantee of excellence.
A Bit of Plot…
Adolescent Suzanne (Sandrine Bonnaire, Monsieur Hire) deploys sex like a mousetrap to lure men and teenage boys to her bed or any other convenient, reasonably comfortable location. Her reckless promiscuity gradually takes shape as a statement of rebellion against an overbearing and vitriolic family, and especially her father (played by director Maurice Pialat). While Suzanne’s parents confront the harsh realities of an unraveling marriage, the teenage girl struggles with the meaning of relationships and the fundamental human desire to connect with other people. The sex is great, but the thought of real, emotional intimacy terrifies the young woman.
Criterion delivers a superb print with crisp Dolby 2.0 audio and a wealth of extras spread across the two-disc set. Video and audio meet Criterion’s customarily high standard, although the stereo soundtrack, while clean, lacks sonic dispersion across the front stage.
A 2003 interview with star Bonnaire is perhaps the most revealing feature as the now-grown woman talks about her reaction to playing a hypersexual teenager. An archival interview with the director on the set offers insight into Pialat’s intent with the material, but the recent interview with filmmaker and writer Catherine Breillat is more illuminating. Her comments on Pialat’s film are filtered through Breillat’s own ideas on sexuality, female empowerment and familial dysfunction — all key themes of À Nos Amours. Breillat is an unapologetic feminist and real firebrand who has written or directed numerous films. As an actress, she played a supporting role in Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris.
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