New York Times - 11/12/2004
"[I]t stirs up a fascinating and contradictory mixture of the eternal and the transitory."
Chicago Sun-Times - 12/10/2004
"Claude Miller, a French director of dry humor and great skill, has taken the Chekhov outline and updated it to present-day France..."
Handsome, young, naïve, and insufferably pretentious, amateur filmmaker Julien (Robinson Stévenin) and his famous actress mother, Mado (Nicole Garcia), are locked into a power-play at their country house. Jeanne (Julie Depardieu), the daughter of the caretaker, is in love with Julien. But Julien's girlfriend, Lili (Ludivine Sagnier), is irresistibly drawn to the successful feature-film director Brice (Bernard Giraudeau), Mado's longtime lover and the representation of everything Julien hates about filmmaking. This chaos gets drawn out in achingly beautiful, color-drenched shots of blue skies, ocean, trees, and the earthy, ethereal Sagnier in full flower. It's a decidedly post-modern interpretation of Chekhov's THE SEAGULL, by esteemed film director Claude Miller (ALIAS BETTY), wherein the plot eventually doubles back on itself to become a self-reflexive study of filmmaking. Though Miller has a lot to say about the compromises of art, he makes sure his characters are never mere mouthpieces: they all interact like real people, with a refreshing amount of tender affection for one another. The film has all the qualities of the best French imports: warmth, intelligence, humor, and liberal dashes of sex and critical theory. It's the sort of foreign film that originally made foreign films popular in America. Sagnier is clearly her generation's Brigitte Bardot, and Julie Depardieu (Gerard's daughter) proves herself a major talent in a memorable side role.
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