Beatt's first feature centres on a staggering performance from Swinton: part Diva, part Harpy, part woman struggling to cope and make sense of it all. She plays Queenie, married to a German and living in Germany; the marriage has reached one of its periodic crises, and Queenie's way out of the impasse is to throw a big all-night party. During it, she humiliates her husband by flirting with a handsome French stranger (Atkine). She succeeds in making a drama out of a crisis. Shot in steely monochrome, this is a small triumph for high-concept film-making. It's structured as a flow of vignettes, with an ever-changing cast of party guests in the background; dozens of people get their minute or two of prominence, but everything turns around the central triangle of wife, husband and potential lover. The only real weakness is the dialogue, far too much of which is quoted from literature and poetry. But the grasp of mood and rhythm is spot on.
Cast and crew