Loulou (1980)

“No one’s in love anymore.”

After an evening out on the town, Nelly (Isabelle Huppert), a young married woman, dumps her possessive husband Andre (Guy Marchand) and runs off with Loulou (Gerard Depardieu) a man she just met. With a strong sexual attraction at the base of their relationship, Nelly and Loulou live in a series of hotels, and sink into their relationship. Meanwhile, Andre has a difficult time accepting Nelly’s attraction to the terminally unemployed Loulou. It’s a horrible blow to Andre’s ego to realize that Nelly prefers Loulou to him solely because of his talents in the bedroom, but that’s exactly how the film plays it.

Given the acting talents of Huppert and Depardieu, Loulou directed by Maurice Pialat, should be a fantastic French film. But instead, Loulou is a rather bleak tale thanks mainly to its listless, unlikable main characters. There are several points during the film in which Nelly makes some reverse decisions. These are not explained either by the script or by the character portrayal, and as a result, the actions leave a lot of questions about what exactly is going on inside Nelly’s head. In many ways, Nelly seems to drift along with her life with Loulou once she bails from her middle-class existence with Andre, so these sudden reverse decisions (one of which is an enormous change of heart) seem to go against the grain of her general passivity. The film picks up after the halfway point and becomes slightly more interesting as Nelly’s life becomes more complicated, but overall it’s a fairly lifeless story–in spite of the fact it’s supposed to be all about passion. In French with subtitles. From director Maurice Pialat

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Filed under France, Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Huppert

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