Rois et Reine

Starring : Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Catherine Deneuve, Maurice Garrel, Nathalie Boutefeu, Jean-Paul Roussillon

Directed by : Arnaud Desplechin

A film which begins with a shot in a street in France. But this the city is waiting for someone a person who is going embark on a journey of redemption and personal consciousness. Her name is Nora a tall and beautiful woman. She has three men in her life one of which is dead and long gone. The film parallels the life of one of her lovers who has gone mad and her own life. She is about to get married when her dad gets terminally ill and starts bleeding internally. She has to now come face to face with a harsh reality which has dogged her for years but has failed to come to terms with. In between all this she has a son who does not like the new man in her life.

The plot is a little tight but the director gives ample space to let go of the realities of the character. He feels each character has a place which only he can show us through his lens. There are moments in this movie when we feel he has studied each character and almost feels like a biography of their minds. The film has shades of Bergman in the sense of style. For instance there is a scene where Nora reads a letter her father wrote in his book which she was not supposed to see. The approach to the whole episode is very Bergmanish. The director digs really deep into the sanctums of each character. But at times gives us some solace with some heart felt dialogs.

The son plays an integral part in her life and Nora wishes he gets everything out of life and not fail because of her weakness in loving men. There is a lot of improvements done with the actors in several instances which gives a feeling of dislocation of the characters. The film also gives a feeling of life being stagnated on the silver screen. There is also a lot of built up anger which many of the characters exposes at various instances in the film. The non linear narrative gives the film a sense of chaos but still well contained.

There were many stand out performances in the film. But the one which took me by surprise was by Mathieu Amalric who acted as a bipolar lover of Nora. It seems like he loved this role and was taken by the directors take on this film. He also felt that it was more of an exploration of himself which made him an added impetus to do this project.

Mathieu Amalric also talked extensively about the style with which the director approached this film. He said when the actors bought an approach to the scene he would tell them to do it in the polar opposite way. But this created a different sensitivity altogether and giving it a freshness which many of the Hollywood movies lack.

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