Little Lili (La petite Lili) (2003)

CLAUDE MILLER

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB/, 2003, , , , , , , , Screenplay by , , based on the play The Seagull by Cinematography by .   Produced by Production Design by Costume Design by , Film Editing by Cannes Film Festival 2003.

Bernard Giraudeau and Ludivine Sagnier in Little Lili.

Claude Miller loosely adapts Chekhov’s The Seagull but only in the most superficial way, setting it in the French countryside and turning the characters who were theatre professionals into members of the film industry. Moody young is looking forward to showing his famous actress mother and her director boyfriend the experimental film he has been working on that stars his girlfriend ().  Sagnier’s Lili is a country girl from across the lake whose dewy, youthful looks and virginal demeanor cause something of a ruckus in an already dysfunctional group of unhappy and frustrated people, their communication getting so much more tense when Garcia is scornful of her son’s film and he does not take it well.  While the young man reacts viciously to his mother’s disapproval, Sagnier is pushed further into her interest in his stepfather, the climax of which then cuts to a few years later and reveals the aftermath of this fateful summer.  It’s really the setup and the first section that most resembles Chekhov’s play, the rest has bare traces of the narrative and then moves to an ending in which theatricality is an actual device on screen; clever in theory, the execution of this final sequence is as shallow and uninteresting as the rest of the movie, which wastes the talent of a number of great actors.

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