Villa Amalia, 2009

As in his previous film The Untouchable, Benoît Jacquot’s sublime and brooding film Villa Amalia, an adaptation of Pascal Quignard’s novel, also explores themes of identity and fugue. This ambiguity is suggested in the film’s opening sequence, as a distracted Ann (Isabelle Huppert) – having just witnessed her long-time partner, Thomas (Xavier Beauvois) near the […]

Seventh Heaven, 1997

A delicately rendered, slice-of-life relational drama played out as psychological mystery, Seventh Heaven incisively opens to an unfocused shot of Mathilde (Sandrine Kiberlain) standing near the glass doors of a department store until her visage gradually comes into focus – and with it – her abstracted gaze as she compulsively steals a scale model car […]

Princess Marie, 2004

Benoît Jacquot’s thematic penchant for performance, historicity, and probing the creative mind converges impeccably in the epic biopic Princess Marie on the remarkable life of Princess Marie Bonaparte – the libertine, progressive thinking, seemingly anachronistic great grand-niece of Napoleon and Princess of Greece and Denmark – and her close association with Sigmund Freud and his […]

Benoît Jacquot: Documentary Films, Part 2

The second series of documentaries presented at the Benoît Jacquot retrospective – Nombres et neurons, Jacques Lacan’s Psychoanalysis Part One, La Mort du jeune aviateur anglais, and Ecrire – may be loosely categorized as films that examine the thought process indigenously from within the idiosyncratic perspective of the creative mind. Within this framework, Jacquot’s unobtrusive, […]

Benoît Jacquot: Documentary Films, Part 1

A theme that emerges from the first four documentary films presented at the Benoît Jacquot retrospective at the Walter Reade – Merce Cunningham and Co., Alfred Deller: Portrait of a Voice, Louis René de Fôrets, and Elvire-Jouvet 40 – is the filmmaker’s recurring preoccupation with documenting the artistic process. For Jacquot, intrinsic in this process […]

Notes from Rendez-vous with French Cinema 2011

Deep in the Woods (Benoît Jacquot) Having been going through something of film burnout that began midway through the New York Film Festival last year, I had planned to attend only a few screenings from this year’s Rendez-vous with French Cinema as a way of working through the inertia. The film that finally succeeded in […]