Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Mes Seances de Lutte
France, 2013. Doillon et Compagnie, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Canal+, B MediaExport, Backup Media. Screenplay by Jacques Doillon. Cinematography by Laurent Chalet, Laurent Fenart. Produced by Jacques Doillon, Daniel Marquet. Production Design by Anaïs Romand. Costume Design by Rachel Raoult. Film Editing by Marie Da Costa.
A girl returns home to deal with the estate of her recently departed father and reconnects with a man with whom she had once had a passing flirtation that was never consummated. Her disappointment with her father’s will, hoping that she would inherit a piano that symbolized a level of affection and approval she never received from him, causes anger that she unleashes on her friend as they indulge in a series of power play games that see them constantly threatening to have sex but always finding an excuse to stop short of indulgence. Scene after scene of wrestling and smacking around sounds like the utmost in French arthouse pretentious torture, but this is actually a potent and sexy film thanks to the performances and the chemistry between the actors. The frame around which it is built, the idea of this girl acting out because of her family drama, is never convincing and is a cheap excuse for the rest of it, but the aspects of it that work are really explosive, with a building sexual tension that eventually anyone watching it shares the need to reach its, ahem, climax.