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Loulou (1980)

  • Film

Time Out says

The 100 best French films

This film ranked #67 in Time Out's list of the 100 greatest French films. Click here to see the full list. 

Director: Maurice Pialat

‘Loulou’ is a challenging, absorbing example of the awkward beauty of the late Maurice Pialat. Superficially, it’s a keenly observed, naturalist, semi-improvised, hand-shot ‘slice-of-life’, set in the post-Women’s Lib Paris of the late 1970s, depicting class- and culture-clashing passion. A young accountant (a still-flushed-cheeked Isabelle Huppert, in one of her most sensual and mysteriously protean performances) leaves her incredulous, angered bourgeois husband for the bed of an earthy, unemployed petty ex-con (a superbly uningratiating  and still equine and cocksure Gérard Depardieu). As such, it seems a little dated, but on a deeper level, it’s fully part of the influential Pialat’s audacious, experimental attempt to intersect the too-often parallel lines of inquiry of  realist and ‘spiritual’ cinema – imagine an unholy marriage of, say, Cassavetes and Bresson. Thus ‘Loulou’s’ non-judgemental insights into such universal concerns/mysteries as happiness or attachment or love for others or ourselves (in a given social context) may seem initially too momentary, accidental or even casual or voyeuristic – but, beware, they have a tricky habit of haunting you long after it has ended.

Written by Wally Hammond
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