Combustible Celluloid
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With: Isild Le Besco, Ouassini Embarek, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Laurence Cordier
Written by: Benoit Jacquot, based on a memoir by Elizabeth Fanger
Directed by: Benoit Jacquot
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 94
Date: 03/19/2013

A tout de suite (2005)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Without Breath

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Benoit Jacquot pays tribute to the French New Wave of the 1950s and '60s with this black-and-white lovers-on-the-run drama. But when Godard and Truffaut made Breathless, Shoot the Piano Player and Band of Outsiders, they were showing their appreciation and enthusiasm for low-budget American crime pictures. Jacquot ( The School of Flesh, Sade) doesn't seem to find any similar inspiration. Despite the film's infectious style and the powerful charisma of its leading performers, it doesn't really catch fire. Beautiful, exotic French art student Lili (Isild Le Besco) is drawn to a handsome Moroccan man (Ouassini Embarek), and realizes later that he's a bank robber. She chooses to go on the run with him after a botched holdup, and they tour Europe together until bad luck with airport security splits them up. The actors are never less than engaging, and they have a genuine charisma. Le Besco, who does many scenes by herself, has a thoughtful, passionate face. The problem may come from the fact that Jacquot has based his film on the memoir of a real girl, Elizabeth Fanger, and he suffers from too much "remaining true to the material." While Godard's lovers-on-the-run were "without breath," these characters seem to be holding theirs.

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