Venice is a lot like New York. You will
find a lot of writers and realtors there.
One fateful day, a French mystery novelist walks into a former fashion model’s
real estate agency. It will be the start
of a very complicated relationship for the lead characters in André Téchiné’s
latest pseudo-thriller, Unforgivable (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
seems to be an inverse relationship between Francis’s creative productivity and
his domestic happiness. He came to
Venice to write in seclusion, but took up with Judith instead. At least she had the perfect rental for him:
a secluded old villa on the island of Sant’Erasmo. Happy with his new home and lover, Francis
has not written a word in months.
Fortunately or unfortunately, that will all change when his ostensibly
grown daughter Alice comes to visit.
to get back at Francis or her vastly more responsible ex, Alice disappears
without warning, apparently taking up with a penniless aristocratic drug
dealer. Not inclined to let things be,
Francis hires the half-retired private detective Anna Maria, a woman from
Judith’s past, to shadow his daughter across the continent. As Francis’s escalating emotional neediness
turns to jealousy, he hires Anna Maria’s delinquent son to shadow Judith in
on Philippe Djian’s novel, Unforgivable is
a perfect example of Téchiné’s knack for skirting the boundaries of the
thriller genre without fully crossing over.
He toys with plenty of noir conventions, such as a mysterious
disappearance, a smarmy underworld figure, and a whole lot of skulking about
the streets of Venice. Yet, Téchiné is
more concerned with his characters’ extreme emotions—the passion, jealousy, and
contempt driving their actions.
cast as Francis, André Dussollier projects the appropriate sophistication,
arrogance, and insecurity, while still connecting with something fundamentally
human and sympathetic about the character.
However, the real pleasure of Unforgivable
is seeing Carole Bouquet (the most under-appreciated “Bond Girl” ever in
the pinnacle film of the Roger Moore era, For
Your Eyes Only) as Judith, the mature femme fatale. Indeed, it is a smart, delicately calibrated
Capitalizing on the mysterious Venetian
backdrop, Unforgivable is like a film
noir for those who avoid on-screen violence and cynicism. It is literate and worldly, yet
compassionately forgiving of its characters self-defeating foibles (title
notwithstanding). Highly recommended for
French film connoisseurs, it opens this Friday (6/29) in New York at the IFC
Center downtown and the Beekman Theatre uptown.
Labels: Andre Techine, Carole Bouquet, French Film