L'Ennui

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Time Out says

Jaded after the failure of his marriage, Martin (Berling) has 'given up love', and taken to his car. On one voyeuristic drive around Paris he sees something spark between a girl and a grave older man. Drawn in, he tracks the man to a bar, and later, to his studio, only to find him dead of a heart attack and the girl, Cécilia (Guillemin, a revelation) - his muse - collecting her belongings. Martin interrogates, accosts and couples with her, a dance he performs as an increasingly frantic ritual over the following months, compelled and confounded by this docile and wholly unremarkable girl's casual availability and calm impenetrability. It's like banging a brick wall. Sex and ennui make strange but apt cinematic bedfellows. Kahn's adaptation of Alberto Moravia's Boredom bears a close resemblance to Godard's treatment of the same author's Le Mépris - thematically more than cinematically - with its fateful study of an incompatible, inscrutable relationship. Moravia's clinical, obsessive analysis of the pitfalls of sexual attraction and rejection offers potentially gloomy going, and the narrative here certainly spins round and round nowhere. But Kahn enlivens the drama by comically spiking Martin's mono-maniacal self-absorbtion, and counterposes Berling's restless neurotic and Guillemin's unflappable, unyielding enigma to dynamic and fascinating effect.
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Release details

UK release:

1998

Duration:

122 mins

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