Love Battles (Mes Seances de Lutte) (2013)

JACQUES DOILLON

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5France, 2013, , , , .  Screenplay by Jacques Doillon.  Cinematography by , .  Produced by Jacques Doillon, .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

James Thierree, Sara Forestier in Love Battles

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.

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