Lovers: passion according to Nicole Garcia


CRITICAL – The director restores the nerve to the eternal love triangle in this perfectly mastered film. Her actors, Stacy Martin, Benoît Magimel and Pierre Niney serve her brilliantly.

It’s quite silly: they love each other. It’s very silly, but it’s complicated. He is a dealer, she is enrolled in a hotel school. The first sequence shows them as two recumbent figures, white bodies intertwined on messy sheets, as if death was already watching them. They are so young. Tomorrow does not exist. One evening they watch The Ultimate Razzia on DVD. Kubrick’s film ends badly. It doesn’t seem to affect them. When one of his clients dies of an overdose, Simon disappears. Lisa can’t believe it. She is later found married to a wealthy insurer. Léo and she are in Mauritius, in a palace by the ocean. The couple want to adopt a child. Coincidence: Simon works there as a guide. The rest is predictable.

Last chapter in Geneva. Simon sneaked up on Lisa. Indoor woman close to despair, she lives in a superb architect’s house. She is bored, finds her lover in a shabby room. The husband pretends to see nothing. He believes that happiness can be bought like a tapiès canvas. Lies accumulate in a cozy atmosphere. Leo is playing with fire. Lisa loses her mind, bites her nails. Simon bombs his chest, considers himself smarter. There will be blood. Nicole Garcia passed her Woman next door. A dull fatality hovers above the characters, threatening like a stormy sky.

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The film is bathed in a bluish, nocturnal, metallic light. The director restores the nerve to the eternal love triangle. Lisa, Simon and Leo slowly sink into a tragedy clad in dark costumes, populated by fine art and food, the unspoken and sudden outbursts of anger. The film is black. Revenge is best enjoyed cold, even frozen. Control, sense of situations, dialogues on the line (helped in this by her faithful friend Jacques Fieschi), Nicole Garcia is not afraid of being out of fashion. She knows that’s how you become classic. She stands there, proud and upright, in the middle of this devastated landscape that is French cinema. Fortunately we have it.

His camera does not set foot on the wall. On the screen are the brutality of social relations, the power of money, useless passions. Stacy Martin is this brown, fragile, tormented twig. In his gaze passes all the distress in the world. Is it his fault that life is cruel, unforeseen, disappointing? Benoit Magimel, mineral, feverish, torn from the inside, imposes his stature of misunderstood male. This is the future Gabin. Pierre Niney holds the road, with his slender physique, his goatee, his sudden fits of authority. There is in him all the male cowardice, the crazy hopes, the dreams already betrayed. Their feelings will crush all three of them. The final shot shows Lisa in a crowd. She is lost, mysterious, anonymous. We think of Romy Schneider at Sautet, when the filmmaker chose to conclude with a freeze frame. This is no small compliment.

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