Va Savoir

  • 2000
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Comedy, Romance

"It's more whim than drama," declares the director of the play that lies at the heart of Jacques Rivette's charmingly light romantic roundelay, but he could just as well be describing the film itself. The play is Luigi Pirandello's As You Desire Me, mounted by a touring Italian theater company that's just arrived in Paris. Its star is French actress Camille...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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"It's more whim than drama," declares the director of the play that lies at the heart of Jacques Rivette's charmingly light romantic roundelay, but he could just as well be describing the film itself. The play is Luigi Pirandello's As You Desire Me, mounted by a touring Italian theater company that's just arrived in Paris. Its star is French actress Camille Renard (Jeanne Balibar), who plays Zara, an amnesiac who might be the runaway bride of an Italian count. And an apt role it is: Camille is returning to Paris three years after she jilted her own fiancé, Pierre (Jacques Bonnaffe), and she's ready to reclaim her life. A big part of that effort involves a reunion with Pierre, even though Camille is currently involved with Ugo (Sergio Castellitto), her director and co-star. Pierre is also spoken for; during Camille's absence, he met and married dance instructor Sonia (Marianne Basler), whose apparent poise and inner calm are really a precariously maintained front. Ugo, meanwhile, is busy chasing down his own dream: an unpublished play by 18th-century Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni, a work no one is entirely certain actually exists. Ugo's passion assumes a more carnal form when he meets a very pretty — and much younger — woman named Do (Helene De Fougerolles) in a Paris library. In just one of the many coincidences that propel the plot, Do is a descendant of the man for whom it's rumored Goldoni wrote the play, and she offers to help Ugo sift through the family library for the manuscript. Bringing things full circle is Do's brother, Pierre (Bruno Todeschini), a petty swindler who just happens to be carrying on a torrid affair with Sonia. The intrigue unfolds around daily performances of the play, and things end exactly where they should, with Rivette's actors untangling their knotted love lives on Pirandello's stage. While ever so slight, the film plays upon what has long been the director's — and Pirandello's — pet theme: the interchange between art and life, and the extent to which one can determine the other. At two and half hours, the film runs a little long, though it's a mere bagatelle by Rivette's standards; his films often stretch well beyond the four-hour mark. But it's an engaging diversion from a master director who, at the ripe age of 78, appears to be once again at the top of his game. (In French, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: "It's more whim than drama," declares the director of the play that lies at the heart of Jacques Rivette's charmingly light romantic roundelay, but he could just as well be describing the film itself. The play is Luigi Pirandello's As You Desire Me, mounte… (more)

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