The wonderful Laetitia Dosch (Jeunne Femme) appears opposite bad-boy ballet star Sergei Polunin in this account of an intense but loveless affair.
Danielle Arbid’s adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s acclaimed and controversial 1991 auto-fiction highlights the gulf that can exist between sex and love. Dosch plays literature professor Hélène, who is involved with Russian Embassy official Alexandre. Their encounters are carnal, which seems to suit Alexandre. But Hélène is looking for something more. Not commitment, perhaps not even the full bloom of a love affair; but certainly an attempt to engage on a level beyond the physical. It’s in this conflict of desires that Arbid’s film resonates, even drawing out a strain of dark humour. It’s a world away from any shade of grey and all the more satisfying for it. But it’s Dosch’s show and she gives a tour-de-force performance of range and complexity.