Friday, June 19, 2009

Au Coeur du Mensonge

For those used to slick American fare, where the reasons are spicier and the drama is more vivid than life itself, Au Coeur du Mensonge (1999; US title: The Color of Lies) is not the film. The usual French cinema's habit of concentrating solely on human emotions and behavior is taken to the extreme in this touching film, on outside just a thriller mystery, but on inside anything but that, rather the story of deeply intertwined love of a couple for each other, played by Jacques Gamblin and Sandrine Bonnaire.

Bonnaire had earlier impressed me with her suppressed performance in the 1998 Jacques Rivette film Secret Défense; however this time she has little to do except looking the part. It's the lesser known Gamblin however who gives the film all its pain: playing the part of a tormented lover, a fine painter, a man who is intelligent and too sensitive, who knows what he can give to her and yet is acutely conscious of his physical shortcomings. The film is advertised to be dealing with the mystery of a minor's rape and thus a whodunnit; rather it is sharply focused upon the Bonnaire-Gamblin couple and betrayal in relationship. True love can make the other's crime its own, which is what the film so beautifully brings out. And even the guilt.

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