The central figure of the French drama “Suzanna Andler” is a woman to whom passion, tragedy and indecision elicit the same response – a shrug. His voice never rises; his face rarely betrays his emotions. She speaks to her friend, her husband and her lover in the same monotone tone. Even raising the eyebrows is too active for this inert film.
Suzanna (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is the chic wife of a wealthy businessman. He neglects her, or they neglect each other, and during Suzanna’s spare time, she took on a younger lover, Michel (Niels Schneider). The film takes place in a single afternoon, as Suzanna considers renting a summer house with her husband’s money.
Michel comes to visit her, and her presence prompts Suzanna to reflect on the pending decisions that haunt her. Should she rent the house? Should she leave her husband? Should she drink herself to death? We do not care?
“Suzanna Andler” is an adaptation of a play by writer Marguerite Duras, best known in the cinema for her contributions to the screenplay for the 1959 film “Hiroshima, Mon Amour”. Director Benoît Jacquot’s interpretation of the disgruntled characters of Duras leads him to keep his images detached. The pans and zooms show the same impartiality that his characters profess. The lovers kiss, and the camera moves away from the action.
It is a test of patience to see these glass figurines evoke their romantic entanglements, the dollhouse on the Riviera that they will perhaps rent, the bourgeois weddings that they will perhaps leave. Even the camera seems to be bored, as if in danger of losing its way.
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 31 minutes. In theaters.