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Intimate Strangers (tbc)

Director: Patrice Leconte

France| 2004. Subtitles. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 104 mins.


This brilliantly written, superbly acted and witty two-hander finds director Patrice Leconte (The Girl on the Bridge, The Man on the Train) in top form, doing what he does best—engineering encounters between two opposite characters and watching them squirm. A sentimental thriller providing a heady mixture of sexual innuendo and sharp psychological observations that never take themselves too seriously, Leconte’s latest effort gives actors Sandrine Bonnaire and Fabrice Luchini their best roles in a long time.
Anna (Bonnaire), a woman badly in need of emotional assistance, walks one door too far along a dark corridor and instead of stepping into the offices of a psychiatrist (Michel Duchaussoy) whose help she seeks, enters the rooms of tax counsellor William Faber (Luchini). Before realising her mistake she’s already sitting in front of him, pouring out her heart and unveiling intimate secrets of her marriage. He looks at her dumbfounded, not daring to correct her false impression. When she comes in for her next session, he still hasn’t made up his mind how to react, but has at least sought professional help from the psychiatrist next door and from his estranged wife (Anne Brochet). Both suggest he should tell the truth, an opinion doubtless shared by the audience as it wonders how long Leconte can keep the deceit going.
Shot in sequence and almost entirely on a sound stage, Intimate Strangers is beautifully lit by cinematographer Eduardo Serra. But the film’s main asset is its casting, with Bonnaire and Luchini supported by experienced performers such as Duchaussoy and Brochet. Add Leconte’s impeccable sense of pace, and the picture turns into one of those rare enjoyable instances where critics and audiences are equally satisfied.*Opening date subject to change.

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