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LOULOU

Director: MAURICE PIALAT

FRANCE • 1980 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • 105 MIN


BOASTING FORMIDABLE PERFORMANCES FROM ISABELLE HUPPERT AND GERARD DEPARDIEU, THIS IS THE FILM THAT BECAME THE LATE, GREAT FRENCH DIRECTOR MAURICE PIALAT’S FIRST INTERNATIONAL HIT AND IS RE-RELEASED IN A NEW PRINT.
It begins as Nelly’s flirtatious behaviour with the drunken Loulou provokes her partner Andre into a fit of jealous rage. The scene—all too plausible in its spontaneity, passion and ugly violence—sets the tone for what follows, as the young woman decides to leave the home she shares with successful businessman Andre for an altogether less ‘respectable’ life of sex, booze and petty crime with the work-shy womaniser Loulou. Her family might not approve, and Andre may be prepared to do almost anything to win her back, but Nelly, enthralled by her new lover’s seemingly unlimited desire (and stamina), and by the fascination of meeting unfamiliar people, is determined to do things her own way. Pialat’s bold variation on the ‘beauty and the beast’ scenario impresses as much for its social and psychological authenticity as for its refusal to moralise or peddle cliches. Guy Marchand is excellent as Andre, the third side of a decidedly unromantic triangle, but it’s Depardieu and Huppert whose raw, relaxed, naturalistic performances bring to the film a remarkable blend of chemistry and unspoken tenderness. Though nothing is glamorised in the film, it is underpinned by acute understanding and compassion. —Geoff Andrew.

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