Friday, February 28, 2014
It was with Persecution, his final film, that Chéreau arrived at his most whittled-down vision of self-inflicted loneliness. Daniel (Romain Duris), the disheveled, tormented young Parisian at the film’s center, is adored by his long-suffering lover Sonia (Charlotte Gainsbourg), clung to by his emotionally needy best friend, and stalked by an admirer (Jean-Hugues Anglade) who suddenly professes his love. From its jarring first shot—of Daniel slapping Sonia in public—to its wrenching, Antony-scored final moments, Chéreau’s film is a portrait of a man who persecutes everyone in his orbit—not least himself. “At the end,” Chéreau said in one interview at the time of the film’s release, “you must save him. You must love him.” Who else will? Print courtesy of Institut Français, Paris.