Portraits Chinois

Film

 

Time Out says

A flat-warming party on the Left Bank brings together design assistant Bonham Carter, her partner, screenwriter Ecoffey, vain movie director Attal, his womanising producer Manojlovic, shy couture assistant Bohringer, and even more neurotic Zylberstein, who winds up tearful in the loo. The presence of the last two reminds us of writer/director Dugowson's startling debut Mina Tannenbaum, but her approach here takes in a wider ensemble, eases up on the melodrama, and develops its insights cumulatively. We see how these friends and co-workers negotiate their relationships through a swath of infidelities, creative rivalries and secret romances, each remaining true only to him or herself. While the tone's predominantly light, some of the actors take their chances better than others. Unfortunately, Bonham Carter's central performance (in creditable French) is too busy and bitty, in the process filleting the emotional core from the film. Even so, Dugowson's deft attentiveness to her characters' inner lives shows the instinctive flair of a film-maker who will doubtless continue to get better and better.
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Release details

UK release:

1996

Duration:

123 mins

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