101 minutes, France-U.S.A., 2011, Subtitled, Colour, D-Cinema

Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance last year, Antonio Campos’ second feature sees lovelorn American Simon (Brady Corbett, Martha Marcy May Marlene) licking his wounds in Paris following the breakup of a long-term relationship.

Wandering into a sex club, he meets enigmatic prostitute Victoria (Mati Diop, 35 Shots of Rum). Recognising something in each other, the two eventually move in together, and Simon draws her into a scheme to blackmail her married clients. While there are previous clues, this is the strongest indication yet that behind Simon’s charming, boyish exterior lurks a true sociopath, willing to lie and manipulate in any situation in order to turn it to his own advantage.

Campos does an excellent job of slowly and quietly building an atmosphere of tension and menace while Corbett’s icy portrayal of the morally disengaged Simon is difficult to shake. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

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