Monday, November 19, 2012

"Unforgivable": A French mystery novelist encounters real life in Venice (and it's all in the background)

A new quasi-thriller film by Andre Techine,  “Unforgivable” (“Impardonnables”) at first seems set up to explore the paradox of a writer’s world: balancing the world of imagination with the ironies and complexities of the people around him in “real life”.  As in my own life, truth can become more bizarre than fiction.

Francis (Andre Dussollier), about 65, already a successful author of A-list crime thrillers, wants to live near Venice for a year to work on his next novel, already under contract from a big French publisher.

It seems all to facile that he falls in love with and marries the fiftyish real estate agent Judith (Carole Bouquet) and rents a house on Torcello Island.  Pretty soon, both he and his wife become obsessed with the “ghosts” of their respective pasts, which will come together.  Francis hires a young ex-con Jeremie (Mauro Conte), apparently the son of his own wife’s ex lesbian lover. The son is on the verge of coming out himself, but this seems to be one of those stories where everyone but the scribe is bisexual. 

The film is organized around the four seasons of the year. 

The movie is based on the novel by Philippe Dijan, which was originally set on the Basque coast.  Now I think that Bilbao (or San Sebastian-Donesta) could make a fascinating backdrop for a romantic thriller.  But Techine and Medhi Ben Attia have taken some liberties with the book to create their own experience, much of it based on the unusual geography of Venice (water, and flat landscapes  -- and a shot of a luxury cruiser made oblivious to the accident with the Costa Concordia).  One can imagine a documentary soon on how Venice is sinking and threatened by climate change. 
The film premiered in Europe in late 2011 and has a DVD release date from Strand of Dec. 4. In the US, it’s definitely a “West End Cinema” sort of film.

The official site is here

No, the movie has nothing to do with Clint Eastwood's 1992 western, "Unforgiven", which is a masterpiece.

This review was done from a screener DVD.

For today’s short film, check out “The Principal’s Office: Dirty Dancing”, from Freight Train Films on Youtube (5 min).  Two gay high school seniors get called into the Principal’s office and counseled on what kind of behavior will be appropriate at the senior prom (and what won’t be). The YouTube link us here

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