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Eager Bodies

Director: Zabou Breitman

FRANCE| 2002. ENGLISH SUBTITLES. COLOUR. DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO. 110 MINUTES.


In her first stint behind the camera, actress Zabou Breitman takes serious material and spins a touching, funny, wonderfully played love story in Beautiful Memories, which is set in a home for amnesiacs. The quirkily comic tone is set from the start as Claire (Isabelle Carre), under the guidance of her elder sister, checks into a rural memory-loss clinic charmingly called ‘The Squirrels’. Claire, a shy, slightly mousy blonde in her early 30s, has been having difficulty understanding the meaning of certain words ever since she was struck by lightning in a forest-and besides, she’s extra worried because her mother died of Alzheimer’s.
Claire’s first interview with the clinic’s slightly eccentric but straight-talking head, Christian (Bernard Lecoq), signals the movie’s unsentimental approach, which is reinforced as the other guests are introduced. One of the patients is Philippe (Bernard Campan), a wine connoisseur who’s desperately trying to keep hold of his skills, and when Claire moves into the clinic the two start sleeping together. The magic of the film is that it maintains the character comedy even as the central story takes on a patina of tragedy, with Ferenc Javoir’s music and the sense of ensemble among the cast maintaining a warm mood.

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