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La repetition

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Director Catherine Corsini’s last film, La Nouvelle Ève (The New Eve), was a hit comedy about a single woman’s romantic misadventures. Her new film, La Repetition, is a much darker psychological drama about a mutually destructive friendship between two women. Friends since childhood, Louise (Pascale Bussieres) and Nathalie (Emmanuelle Beart) are now in their thirties. They meet up again after more than ten years without seeing each other. Louise now works with her dentist husband, while Nathalie is the kind of successful actress they both dreamed of becoming as teenagers. Because of her admiration for Nathalie, Louise wants to make her happy and schemes to have her hired to play Lulu in a production of Wedekind’s play. Going against her husband’s wishes, Louise travels to Paris and moves in with Nathalie to help her with the role.
The relationship between the two women is tempestuous, oscillating wildly between cruelty and tenderness. Despite all her devotion and manipulation, Louise can only experience her friend’s success vicariously. She is in the grip of an obsession that becomes suffocating and even dangerous. ‘I wanted a relationship in which love and frustration are implicitly blended like two sides of a coin,’ Corsini has said. ‘This can seem terrifying. The unease is necessarily there all the time. I wanted two beautiful actresses to lend greater ambiguity to the situations.’ She was fortunate to get Emmaneulle Beart (ideally cast as the insolent, beautiful yet fragile actress) and the great Canadian actress Pascale Bussieres, who is outstanding in the more demanding role of Louise.
France, 2001. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo SR. 95 min.

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