Wednesday, October 10, 2012

666. LOULOU (1980)

Running Time: 101 minutes
Directed By: Maurice Pialat
Written By: Arlette Langmann, Maurice Pialat
Main Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Huppert, Guy Marchand, Humbert Balsan, Bernard Tronczak


Continuing on with this season of films and sticking closely to my motive of packing the current 100 with films from the decade of the 80s, we go all the way back to 1980 and Maurice Pialat's "Loulou".

The film stars Gerard Depardieu as the title character of Loulou, an unemployed, ex-con with a soft heart and brawny shoulders whom the ladies can't get enough of. Despite playing the title character, Depardieu shares the spotlight equally with his co-star Isabelle Huppert, who plays Nelly, a woman bored with her marriage and tired of her nagging, overbearing husband, Andre (Marchand). One night at a dance, Nelly and Andre get into a spat, something that apparently happens often in this not so happy couple's relationship. Instead of going home that night, Nelly meets and spends the night with Loulou. They share a laugh right off the bat when Loulou's bed breaks down mid coitus and Nelly seems to immediately realize that she'll have more fun with Loulou. Nelly returns home to Andre the next day, but spends the following night, again in the arms of Loulou. This encounter proves to seal the deal on Nelly and Loulou's relationship and simultaneously put an end to her marriage with Andre. She decides to move out of the flat she shares with Andre and move into the hotel room that Loulou occupies, spending her days with the much more caring and much more sexually active Loulou. Andre tries to accept Nelly's decision, offering her the choice to keep her old job, where she works for him, which she does. However, things go south for Loulou and Nelly when he refuses to get a job and she gets pregnant.

The film is realistic and subtle with it's actions which is why I liked it. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "must see", but it's certainly a "should see" and one that would certainly be a wise way to spend two hours. You can also treat the film as a character study, trying to analyze the characters and compare their characteristics to realistic characteristics that we encounter in our day to day life. Take Nelly for example, a young, sexy woman who has ceased to find excitement in her marriage. She ditches her husband for a younger, more handsome, more outgoing man and finds happiness with him. At one point she quips "I prefer a loafer who fucks, to a rich guy who bugs me", which sort of sums up that she also had sexual needs that weren't being met with Andre. How much of Nelly's decision to leave Andre hinged on her sexual desires? Did her initial decision hinge purely on sexual needs, but then she realized that Loulou was also someone who could care for her and someone who she could have a fun with, share laughs with and maybe love? She even notes at one point, early on, that she prefers Loulou not work, because she enjoys the fact that he's always available. Basically, at this point, Nelly wants to be in the driver's seat of the relationship. She wants to take care of Loulou, pay for what needs paid for, just so long as he's always there when she gets home and always sexually and emotionally available.

However, after a while, Nelly, once again, becomes bored. She starts to fall into the same rut that she had with Andre, except this time it's her, not him. In the relationship with Andre, it was Andre who drove Nellie away. In the relationship with Loulou, it's Nelly who begins to drive the wedge, although it's nothing major, mostly menial things. The point is that Loulou doesn't change, Nellie just seems to slowly change her mind and become bored again. I could go on for hours deciphering and analyzing these characters behaviors, but I'll cease there. The point I'm trying to make is that "Loulou" is a film where you can really pick apart the characters actions, if you want to. It's not a necessarily pretty film and the French to English subtitles weren't the most spot on translations I'd ever seen, but it's really good in a raw sort of way. It places typical, very realistic characters into the confines of cinema and allows us to observe their actions, while sprinkling in bits of heavy fiction.

RATING: 7/10  Like I said, not particularly stunning or amazing, but a perfectly fine film and one that COULD....COULD end up getting a "Ten Worth Mentioning" nod come TOP 20 time. Oh yeah and Isabelle Huppert looked amazing!


October 10, 2012  1:35am

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