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Publication: The Stranger
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 59135
Journal code: STRR



Let's begin by returning to François Ozon's Swimming Pool. In this 2003 film, an older woman (played by Charlotte Rampling) falls under the spell of a young, curvy, and mysterious woman, Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). The young woman (she is in her early 20s) is rather rude and a bit threatening. She seems to be hiding something in her past. She has a scar on her stomach. The older woman wants to know more and more about Julie. She keeps asking her questions. But why does she want to know so much? Does she want to fuck Julie? Both go around the old flame of Eros and madness.

In 2010, Sagnier once again finds herself circling that ancient flame with an older woman, this time in Love Crime, a thriller directed by Alain Corneau, who died shortly after completing the film. Now in her early 30s, Sagnier plays Isabelle and Kristin Scott Thomas plays the older woman, Christine. Both are executives in an American-owned multinational corporation that's in the business of extracting as much profit as possible out of the "agro-industry." The movie begins with the older woman hitting on the younger woman. The younger woman resists the sexual aggression. Before the older woman can make a second pass, a youngish man, Philippe (Patrick Mille), enters the room. He is also an executive at the corporation. He is Christine's lover. Isabelle packs her things and leaves, and Christine has sex with Philippe. He is on top of her and wants to look into her eyes as they fuck. But she rudely pushes his face away. There's no need to get personal; fucking is about fucking.

The plot properly begins when Isabelle figures out how the corporation can make more money out of a project in Cairo. She recommends that the firm hire independent contractors-meaning, people who will work for nothing. Isabelle and Philippe fly to Cairo to seal the deal. After the business is done, they go to a hotel room and fuck. Isabelle proudly betrays the older woman. Isabelle desires power in the bed and the boardroom. Isabelle is neither nice nor innocent. She is a lethal corporate shark. This revelation (who is the predator and who is the prey) is the key to the whole film and its surprise ending.

The crime happens near the middle of the film. It is a beautiful sequence. The killer stealthily enters the room with a knife. A chest is stabbed. The victim falls to the floor. Blood flows from the wound and pools by the lifeless body. Music flows into the room as if from an open window. It's a strange composition (by Pharaoh Sanders) that combines the sorrowful sounds of a sax and koto. The sax is American, the koto is Japanese, the crime is French noir. The film is brilliant. Starts Fri Oct 21 at the Egyptian.

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