A Long-Faced Film: “Therese”

Mauriac’s brilliant 1927 novel, Therese Desqueyroux, was filmed in recent years by French director Claude Miller, the result of which is, I think, a respectable but forgettable period piece.  It is called Therese (2013), and its title character (Audrey Tautou), like Therese in the novel, tries to poison to death her husband Bernard (Gilles Lellouch).

There is some astute footage in the film (an emaciated, declining Therese making an appearance for her in-laws, Therese starting a fire with a cigarette), but Therese is less interesting than the novel because of how the novel is structured.  Plus, Tautou goes around with such a saturnine face that she makes the movie a bit stifling.  No high spirits ever spring up, as they usually do in Antonioni and Bergman, and the acting is not as varied as that in the finest art films.  Such cold art this is!

(In French with English subtitles)

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