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Alice et Martin

Director: Andre Techine

FRANCE-SPAIN| 1998. ENGLISH SUBTITLES. COLOUR. DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO. 123 MINUTES.


Alice et Martin follows on from Ma saison preferee as a more hard-edged exploration of the mental scars that accrue from unresolved family conflicts. The central character, Martin (Alexis Loret), is a disturbed young man who flees from his country home and seeks refuge with his half-brother, Benjamin (Mathieu Amalric), a struggling gay actor who shares a Paris flat with Alice (Juliette Binoche). Before long, the handsome yet distraught Martin is hired as a fashion model and begins an affair with Alice. But the couple’s happiness is threatened by Martin’s deteriorating mental state, which causes him to retreat to an asylum.
The film has already suggested the source of Martin’s trauma in an opening sequence which reveals that, as a young boy, his mother insisted that her illegitimate son should live with his real father, who turns out to be a tyrant. The key event which led Martin to leave home is revealed in flashback. In the present, Alice begins her own investigations and uncovers a dark secret the family wishes to keep buried. The film’s jigsaw structure brings it close to the mystery thriller genre, but Techine’s main purpose is to capture what he described as ‘the fears and reverberations’ that haunt all his characters. With its terrific performances and outstanding technical qualities, Alice et Martin reveals all of Techine’s strengths as a director.

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