Chantal Akerman’s hypnotic exploration of erotic obsession plays like Vertigo filtered through the director’s visionary feminist formalism. Loosely inspired by the fifth volume of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, it circles around the very-strange-indeed relationship between the seemingly pliant Ariane (Sylvie Testud) and the disturbingly jealous Simon (Stanislas Merhar), whose need to possess her completely in turn renders him hostage to his own destructive desires. The coolly contemplative camera style of Sabine Lancelin imparts an unbroken, trance-like tension, which finds release only in the thunderous roil of the operatic score. Print courtesy of Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique.
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