is never just business at AB Finance. Sure, the partners want to make pots of
money, but it is also always personal for them (and often rather petty). It is
an intimidating office culture, but Nora Sator’s elbows might be sharp enough
for her to survive in Pascal Bonitzer’s Right
Here Right Now (trailer
which screens during this year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York.
has no problem with cutthroat business practices, per se. It is the revelation
AB’s partners once knew her failed academic father that disturbs her. Neither
the slimy Arnaud Barsac or the eccentrically muddled Prévot-Parédès (PP) want
to elaborate, but it is clear their dubious friendship with Serge Sator ended
in a manner that caused her father great embarrassment. Barsac’s boozy wife
Solveig understands what happened better than anyone, much to her bitter
notion she might have been hired out of guilt concerns Sator, but it will not
stop her from making an ambitious power play, straight out of the gate. She
will try to broker a blockbuster merger for a skeptical new “show me” client,
with the reluctant help of Xavier, the colleague she just leap-frogged. Of
course, an attraction will grow between him and Sator during those long nights
pouring over financials, making him regret passive-aggressively putting the
moves on her hipster sister, Maya.
critiques of capitalism go, RHRN is
about as effective as the old Dynasty TV
show. Bonitzer probably couldn’t explain what a P/E ratio measures, but he
gives us plenty of scenes featuring well-manicured characters verbally sawing
each other off at the knees, while swilling top-shelf liquor. In other words,
it is a lot of fun.
imbibes more than Solveig Barsac, but the great Isabelle Huppert makes her the
most complex, multi-dimensional figure in the entire film. She is a hot mess
with killer attitude and an acute conscience. Whenever she is on-screen, she kicks
the film up a notch or two, as you wouls probably expect.
Wilson is no slouch either as the unrepentant Barsac, while Pascal Greggory brings
a completely unpredictable element of WTF-ness as PP (he’s obsessed with Banyan
trees, just so you know). Julia Faure helps humanize the ruthless melodrama as
Maya, the artistic sister, whereas Agathe Bonitzer’s analytical sister is an
ice queen with intelligent presence (adding a meta element in this
pseudo-Freudian tale, helmed by her father). On the downside, Vincent Lacoste’s
Xavier, the caddish co-worker is so shallow and boring, it is impossible to see
how either sister could be attracted to him (and his working-class insecurity
is the sort of cliché you would find in a 1970s Harold Robbins novel).
So, both Robbins and Dynasty get name-checked in a review of a French Rendez-Vous selection—then
you know it must be good. Bonitzer’s dialogue is razor sharp and his ensemble
clearly savors every cutting word. Recommended for those who enjoy scandal and naked
ambition, Right Here Right Now screens
this Friday (3/10) and Sunday (3/12) at the Walter Reade, as part of the 2017
Rendez-Vous with French Cinema.
Labels: French Cinema, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson, Rendezvous with French Cinema '17