Desplechin risks everything to achieve the sublime in this wild, consistently surprising seriocomedy, which begins as a dual character study of two people in extreme emotional duress: Nora (Emmanuelle Devos), a single mother unraveling as she copes with a dying father, and Ismaël (Mathieu Amalric), her unstable ex-husband whose propensity for dressing in outlandish costumes and passing forged checks lands him in a mental institution run by Catherine Deneuve’s steely psychiatrist. As their lives once again converge, fantasy and reality collapse and Desplechin steers the film into ever more unexpected, surreal, and ultimately moving territory. Bonus: Amalric break-dancing for an audience of psych-ward patients. An NYFF42 selection.
Q&A with Arnaud Desplechin on 3/17
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