Writer-director Andre Techine appears to be on a roll; after the revelations of My Favorite Season (1993) and Wild Reeds, here’s a picture that’s in some ways even more exciting and serious. Jumping between characters in order to see the same events from different vantage points, as in a Faulkner novel, the story involves a family of thieves based in the French Alps. The plot centers on an abortive car heist, but the thriller elements are secondary to the explorations of character. The younger brother (Daniel Auteuil), in rebellion against both his older brother (Didier Bezace) and his father, has become a cop in Lyons; there he gets sexually involved with the troubled sister (Laurence Cote) of a thief (Benoit Magimel) in league with his brother. To complicate matters further, the sister is a former mistress of the older brother and is currently also involved with a philosophy teacher (Catherine Deneuve). Auteuil and Deneuve costarred as brother and sister in My Favorite Season, and it’s remarkable how different they are here. Cote, best known in this country for her work with Rivette (The Gang of Four, Up Down Fragile) and Godard (Nouvelle vague), is equally sensational. An exquisite, haunting movie for grown-ups about love and family ties. Gilles Taurand, Michel Alexandre, and Pascal Bonitzer all collaborated with Techine on the powerful script. Music Box, Wednesday and Thursday, December 25 and 26.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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