This review of a major film, Andre Téchiné’s Les voleurs (Thieves), that was (perhaps typically, at least for this period) completely ignored in The New Yorker – along with Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man from the previous year — appeared in the December 27, 1996 issue of the Chicago Reader. — J.R.
Rating **** Masterpiece
Directed by Andre Téchiné
Written by Téchiné, Gilles Taurand, Michel Alexandre, and Pascal Bonitzer
With Catherine Deneuve, Daniel Auteuil, Laurence Côte, Fabienne Babe, Julien Riviére, Benoît Magimel, Didier Bezace, and Ivan Desny.
by Jonathan Rosenbaum
“Before Christ was a time of orgies. Then came love.”
“Love’s less fun.”
“Probably. In orgies you give your all. No more, no less. In love, it’s never enough. It’s always too much or not enough.” –a conversation in Thieves between a philosophy professor (Catherine Deneuve) and a policeman (Daniel Auteuil) in love with the same woman
When was the last time you saw a movie that was truly for as well as about grown-ups? Whatever the virtues of Breaking the Waves, a mature point of view certainly isn’t one of them.… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader (December 6, 1996). – J.R.
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Breaking the Waves
Rating *** A must see
Directed and written by
Lars von Trier
With Emily Watson, Stellan
Skarsgard, Katrin Cartlidge,
Jean-Marc Barr, Adrian Rawlins,
Jonathan Hackett, and Udo Kier.
Ever since I first encountered Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves in Cannes, where it won the grand jury prize, I’ve been debating within myself about it, because I find it simultaneously shameless, boldly original, contrived, highly affecting, transparent, cynical, hopeful, ironic, sincere, ugly, beautiful, and downright baffling. In a way, my debate isn’t so different from that of Bess (Emily Watson) — the innocent and high strung (or unstrung) young heroine who lives on the northwest coast of Scotland in the early 70s and for much of the film carries on a furious internal debate with “God,” speaking her own part in a squeaky high voice and God’s in a patriarchal low one.
Where Bess, a devout believer, has God, I, a nonbeliever, have the late Carl Dreyer, the film artist von Trier and I both revere above all others. And where Bess speaks to herself not as God but as her sense of God (which overlaps on rare occasion with her sense of Jan), I speak to myself not as Dreyer but as my sense of Dreyer’s achievement (which overlaps on rare occasion with my sense of von Trier’s achievement).… Read more »