By Joachim LAFOSSE

PLAYTIME - as SALES All rights, World

Drama - Completed 2006

    • Year of production
    • 2006
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • FRENCH
    • Duration
    • 105 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Joachim LAFOSSE
    • Producer(s)
    • Synopsis
    • Some of the finest acting in this year's Festival can be found in Nue Propriété, the new film from young, maverick Belgian director Joachim Lafosse. And not just by the sublime Isabelle Huppert, either. She is joined, step for step, by real-life brothers Yannick and Jérémie Renier - the latter famous as the Dardennes brothers' muse in La Promesse and L'Enfant. Their collaboration is exhilarating. Pascale (Huppert) is the all-powerful mother of two rowdy layabouts. Her sons, Thierry (Jérémie Renier) and François (Yannick Renier), tease each other, fight and enjoy a great intimacy. Pascale's ex-husband owns the house but, under the civil code, she is permitted to live there until her death, at which time ownership devolves to their sons. (This is the meaning of the film's original French title.) The ex has made a new life for himself and acts as little more than a bank for his progeny. Seeking an emotional connection, Pascale hooks up with a local baker but when he is introduced to her boys, they react with disdain and violence. She decides the only way to set herself free is to kick her grown children out and sell the home, with or without their permission. This unleashes a brutal war of attrition between mother and sons, and between the two brothers as they - in a groping and primitive way - try to regain their mother's love. Lafosse has a disarmingly naturalistic style, at times reminiscent of John Cassavetes. He uses this uncomfortable intimacy to trap his characters in cathartic situations that elicit profound and revelatory explosions of emotion. Lafosse refers to Chekhov when talking about the film and the influence is evident, especially in his great attention to detail and a certain inevitability inherent in the characters' journeys. This of course provides a wonderful opportunity for the actors involved, which they seize with abandon.