Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
France/Germany/Romania, 2000. Arte France Cinéma, Bavaria Film, Canal+, Filmex, France 2 Cinéma, Les Films Alain Sarde, MK2 Productions, Romanian Culture Ministry, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen. Screenplay by Michael Haneke. Cinematography by Jurgen Jurges. Produced by Marin Karmitz, Alain Sarde. Music by Giba Gonçalves. Production Design by Emmanuel de Chauvigny. Costume Design by Françoise Clavel, Gloria Papura. Film Editing by Karin Hartusch, Nadine Muse, Andreas Prochaska. Cannes Film Festival 2000. Toronto International Film Festival 2000.
After a small street fight occurs on a Paris boulevard, the characters involved go their separate ways and the camera follows their mesmerizing day-to-day lives. Actress Juliette Binoche is at a lucrative stage in her career, filming a new movie and auditioning for various theatrical productions while trying to hold together her relationship with her photographer boyfriend (Thierry Neuvic). Also observed is a Romanian immigrant (Luminita Gheorghiu) who was the victim of the incident, the photographer’s younger runaway brother and an African teenager who caused the event in the first place. Michael Haneke’s direction is pristine, Binoche’s performance hypnotic and somehow the most ordinary occasions in these people’s regular lives seem totally extraordinary.