André Téchiné made this 1985 film RENDEZ-VOUS before his promising career was established, giving us such fine films as My Favorite Season, The Innocents, The Wild Reeds, Beach Café, Alice and Martin, etc. The sensitivity to character development is tightly wound in this work but some of the finesse that followed his later works is missing. In the end we are left wondering a bit about what happened to almost everyone.
Nina (Juliette Binoche in her first film role) has traveled to Paris from her small home in Toulouse to try her hand at acting and to live the wild life that has been unavailable to her in Toulouse. She beds nearly every man she encounters and acts bit parts in small theaters, barely eking out an existence. Tired of one night stands and sharing quarters with others, she sets out to find her own apartment, stopping in to a realtors office where she encounters Paulot (Wadeck Stanczak) who is immediately smitten with her sensual good looks and manner. Having no place to stay Nina agrees to spend a few days with Paulot in a flat shared with the hauntingly strange Quentin (Lambert Wilson). Nina is oddly attracted to Quentin and is somewhat put off by the fact that Quentin is an actor in a sex theater. We discover Quentin narrowly escaped death some time back when the actress playing Juliet to his Romeo was killed. Nina has an approach/avoidance conflict with Quentin, all the while fending off offers by the pathetic Paulot to care for her. Quentin is killed in a car accident, Nina meets the elderly director Scrutzler (Jean-Louis Trintignant in a splendid cameo role) who promises her the role of Juliet in his casting of the Shakespeare drama, and her career as an actress seems to be launched. Full of self doubt and fear stimulated by the ghost-like appearances of the dead Quentin, Nina prepares for the role, copes with Paulot's advances, shares a flat with him, and is finally left in the stage wings with her focus on becoming an actress challenged with her needs for physical and stable love. And we are left there.
Juliette Binoche is very fine in this her 'maiden voyage' and it is a happy finding that she is far more beautiful (as well as a far better actress) in her current more mature state. Lambert Wilson gives a fine performance, finding the line between lurid sexuality and lonely afterlife ghost a position he easily treads. The film definitely has moments but it is only a hint (and a strong one) of just what to expect form the gifted André Téchiné. Not bad for a twenty year old film! Grady Harp
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A woman and three men. Nina, who's come to Paris to act and sleeps with any man at hand, meets Paulot, a young estate agent; he's smitten. She also meets Paulot's flatmate Quentin, a compulsive who stalks her. To Paulot's jealous dismay, she's willing to sleep with Quentin, and wants Paulot's friendship. After a desperate act by Quentin, Nina and Paulot share a flat, but she still won't take him as a lover; instead, her energy goes into a production of "Romeo and Juliet" directed by a detached, intense man who becomes her father figure. Quentin's ghost taunts her, Paulot wants to end all contact, and the director plans to return to London. The art of the theater may be her only refuge.
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September 09, 2022 at 11:52 PM