Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

My Photo
Location: milwaukee, wi

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Intimacy (Patrice Chereau, 2001)

Patrice Chereau, director of Queen Margot, which I thought was beautiful, if not a little confusing, made his English-language directorial debut with Intimacy, which could not be more different than the previous film. While Margot was filled with gorgeous, lavish sets, radiantly beautiful Isabelle Adjani, and a pair of devoted, star-crossed lovers, Intimacy features a realistic (read: relatively grimey) modern-day London, the more realistic looking Kerry Fox and Mark Rylance, and a pair of lovers who don't even know each other's names. And they like it that way, for a while at least. Fox, as Claire, shows up at Rylance's Jay's apartment every Wednesday at 2pm for intense, wordless sex. That is fine for a while, but Jay eventually wants more, so he follows Claire to find out more about her life. This changes their entire relationship.

I really loved just about everything about this movie. Rylance as Jay is so amazing, one of my top twenty performances ever. He is seemingly passive, but with this intense past of a lost wife and kids, and a failed career as a musician. He resents the bartenders at the bar where he works as the barman because they have their whole lives ahead of them, and see greater things for themselves. He lives in a rented house, with not many friends, and really has no future past what we see in the film. He tries to deny his age with his lifestyle, but, in one really revealing scene, has sex with a much-younger woman and is disgusted by her chattiness and overall optimism that is pretty characteristic of the young. Claire, again played impressively by Kerry Fox (whom I really liked in Jane Campion's An Angel at My Table), is a small-time actress with a husband (whom Jay befriends, in one of the film's more interesting sequences) and son who also teaches an acting class. She takes her frustration and rage at Jay out on her class several times, with painful consequences.

These characters are so rooted in reality that it's very easy to lose yourself in the movie. Not only that, but the neediness in the relationship is based with Jay, a very interesting and welcome change from the needy, obsessive woman stereotype. Rylance (whom I have come to love after Angels and Insects, and recently found out he grew up in my city, which makes me appreciate him more - do more films, Mark!) and Fox are incredibly brave in their dedication to the explicit sexuality of the film, which includes much full nudity and even unsimulated oral sex (Chloe Sevigny wasn't that groudbreaking after all). The performances, above everything else, make this a depressing trip away from real life, but some of the dialogue falls a little short to make me love it without reservations. One of the truest films you'll ever see, there's no doubt about it.


RIYL: The Brown Bunny (although this is light years better), Battle in Heaven (a movie I loved equally, and deals with sexuality in the same realistic vein)

Labels: ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!

Comments on "Intimacy (Patrice Chereau, 2001)"


post a comment