Private Fears in Public Places (12A)

Film

Drama

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Mon Jul 16 2007

The French title – ‘Coeurs’ (‘Hearts’) – of Resnais’ latest is more suggestive of the film than that of the Alan Ayckbourn play which is its source – not only because the movie is wholly preoccupied by its characters’ emotional lives, but because it is arguably the most affecting film the famously cool, reticent octogenarian director has made.

Consisting of about 50 brief scenes – most essentially two-handers – it focuses on six Parisians. Nicole (Laura Morante) is seeking a bigger apartment, as her unemployed lover (Lambert Wilson) wants his own study; heaven knows why, given that he spends most of his time in a swanky watering hole, boozily bemoaning his lot to Lionel (Pierre Arditi), a patient barman with his own problems in the (unseen) shape of a terminally hostile bed-ridden father. This monster needs attention while Lionel’s at work, which is why he’s engaged the services of part-time carer Charlotte (Sabine Azéma), a deeply religious sort keen, perhaps, to convert her estate agent boss Thierry (André Dussollier) – the man, incidentally, who’s trying to find a flat agreeable to Nicole, and whose younger sister Gaelle (Isabelle Carré) is seeking romance through the lonely-hearts ads.

Actually, it’s not just Gaelle but everyone here – even Lionel’s dad – who’s afflicted in one way or another, by loneliness. Not that the movie’s remotely depressing; much of it is gently funny, while the superbly sustained aura of delicate artifice – this is a Paris where it’s always silently snowing, even, at one point, indoors – lends the characters’ repeated attempts to break free of their boxed-in lives the ritualistic magic of a fairy tale. The tenderness with which Resnais observes their efforts makes for genuinely enchanting entertainment.

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Jul 20, 2007

Duration:

126 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5
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peter

This is a lovely film. A lovely blend of realism and fairy tale. The film has a beautiful formal elegance, and at the same time is suffused with a warmth and humanity. It is easily one of the best films I have seen in a long time.

peter

This is a lovely film. A lovely blend of realism and fairy tale. The film has a beautiful formal elegance, and at the same time is suffused with a warmth and humanity. It is easily one of the best films I have seen in a long time.

Technoguy

I love when the French get hold of something English and make it their own. They did it well with Summer Things. Now they've done it with this Alan Ayckborn's stage play.The snow falling throughout the film is a surrealistic device that unites all the lonely people whose stories are all interconnected.This is the great Alain Renais who uses what was farce about bourgois anxieties to turn into metaphysical melancholy about people who are all stuck in the same web trying to break free.There's no spider in this web or resolution to the stories.One of the scenarios seems to come from a Beckett play with an off-camera sickly father issuing obscenities and commands from his bed.Everybody is seeking for something but they usually pick the wrong person.There is a beautiful humour at work that allows the characters to breath their own humanity.Each scene is so carefully crafted and so finely realized that each leads through falling snow onto the next.Go see it.

Technoguy

I love when the French get hold of something English and make it their own. They did it well with Summer Things. Now they've done it with this Alan Ayckborn's stage play.The snow falling throughout the film is a surrealistic device that unites all the lonely people whose stories are all interconnected.This is the great Alain Renais who uses what was farce about bourgois anxieties to turn into metaphysical melancholy about people who are all stuck in the same web trying to break free.There's no spider in this web or resolution to the stories.One of the scenarios seems to come from a Beckett play with an off-camera sickly father issuing obscenities and commands from his bed.Everybody is seeking for something but they usually pick the wrong person.There is a beautiful humour at work that allows the characters to breath their own humanity.Each scene is so carefully crafted and so finely realized that each leads through falling snow onto the next.Go see it.