ROMANTIC DRAMA; 2hr (French with subtitles)
STARRING: Laura Morante, Lambert Wilson
Six in the city: Dussollier and Morante
Nicole (Morante), Dan (Wilson), Thierry (André Dussolier), Charlotte (Sabine Azéma), Gaëlle (Isabelle Carré) and Lionel (Pierre Arditi) are Parisians with universal woes. Nicole despairs of her boozy fiancé, Dan. While attempting to interest the bickering pair in an apartment, distinguished realtor Thierry, who lives with his lonely sister Gaëlle, puzzles over a surprising video loaned to him by wholesome co-worker Charlotte — who surely cannot be what she seems. In the evenings, Charlotte cares for Lionel’s appalling old father, who screams insults at her from his bed, while Lionel tends bar in a hotel where Dan is a permanent fixture.
Working from the 2004 play Private Fears in Public Places by English writer Alan Ayckbourn, eminent director Alain Resnais puts the six through their parallel paces as their secrets are revealed against the fanciful snow dome of a wintry city. Setting the story in filmily lit rooms with scant external access gives the action a goldfish-bowl effect that underscores the characters’ isolation while drawing you in with them — paradoxes, shortcomings, misunderstandings and all.