Monday, June 08, 2009

"Intimate Strangers" (Language - French) (2004) - Movie Review

We have a finesse talent in getting tangled with people and get in a bind. The point of that devised no return unfurls through a span of time. There is a significant and identifiable clarity in a specific day where the mirror of our image brightens with the prosperity of positivism. We the beings manage to surprise through miraculous implausibilities and never knowing the trick which produced such a life changing result. One such beautiful entwinement falls on the door steps of William Faber (Fabrice Luchini). An angelic face and melancholic expression as a dead pale corpse arrives Anna (Sandrine Bonnaire). Both follow an instinct which becomes a nameless relationship because the move is postponed, shied and deliberately avoided due to the manner in which they met each other.

In a building where the top floor are meant only for small time offices is where William conducts his work. Anna comes for an appointment with him where he does not expect to see any one for that evening. She begins to recite her troublesome marriage and how she has reached the limits of this long term commitment. She breaks out explaining her husband’s absence of intimacy for more than half a year. William listens and is surprised. She feels little relieved and schedules another appointment same time next week. William does not get a say in it. He is worried. Both for Anna and for him. Because his forte is not psychoanalysis rather numbers. He is a tax lawyer.

In this misunderstanding births this meeting of two people. William struggles in the second meet to tell her the truth. It is one of those cinematic moments where the hesitant in the revealing person and the hurriedness in the other makes an incomplete dialogue and a careless continuance of the lie to the next step. William does not mind as he is getting to the point of frozen foods in microwave with a wine and classical music which can only satisfy him to certain extent. We expect this game to go on till the end. How easily this could be a Hollywood romantic comedy or romantic drama to be manhandled miserably. But Patrice Leconte uses this accident as a strange meeting and soon both are aware of each other. A week later Anna shows up again and William continues to run “sessions” as a listener of course getting insights now and then from the actual psychiatrist Dr. Monnier (Michel Duchaussoy) next door whom Anna came in first for.

Anna opens up and William as expected begins to spiral in this unusual conversation with her. He meets and sleeps with his ex-girl friend Jeanne (Anne Brochet). Both know it is over, William especially. Yet it is one of those odd moments where each does not know what happens to the post break up as they have been such a good friends. They seem to be over it but the tail wags a while before it is broken in such a way for no remedy or backlash. Such has not happened in them and he shares everything with her. Jeanne with a correct mix of care and jealousy hints the path of nowhere it goes. Without not a speck of change does William gives back the sarcasm and doubt towards Jeanne’s muscular boy friend Luc (Laurent Gamelon).

While Anna pours her intimate details and the struggles with her spouse who seem to be muddled and as mentioned by William needs help in therapy, Dr. Monnier hints the possibility of everything being made up or fantasized for the sake of being sympathetic, melodramatic and an ear to listen for. Not really, as Marc (Gilbert Melki) Anna’s husband shows up.

More than the plot, it is the sideline audience in the film which brings forth a dimension but mainly a thought we had. There is homemaker watching a soap opera so ridiculous and twisted that it runs as a parody of the current scenario of intertwined relationship we see in Anna, William and Marc. William’s secretary (Hélène Surgère) plays a cautious and suspicious motherly role for him as she has worked for his father too. She emits a look for rudeness and discomfort at the sight of Anna. These characters adds a surrounding nature of people to affect us but not Anna and William.

Eduardo Serra moves the camera as the person seeing the other. He moves around the hands, necks, the subtle cleavage, the new dress, the tie that is absent and the eye contact which is not developed. “Intimate Strangers” as we go by takes its time and then suddenly erupts not in screams and curses but this unknown existence of fake therapy schedule getting on William. Anna came for attention and gets it from her husband later but also realizes what she has done to her and William. “Intimate Strangers” has so many underlying message of complex behaviours buried in the congested but neatly arranged papers and books of Williams’ office. Both Anna and William give in to this strange agreement knowing the result but unrevealing in the process. What is bound to happen arrives but not the way you would expect it to be. The mastery of French films are so suave and classy that it can handle even the cheesiest of scenes to a level of elegance.

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