"La Separation" is an intensely intimate, claustrophobic study of the disintegration of a long term relationship. We see the collapse through the eyes of Pierre (Daniel Auteil) who wanders bemused, and passive through the film waiting for Anne (Isabelle Huppert) to leave her new lover and return to him. Eventually Anne's emotional retention and her confused, melancholy coolness lead him to lose his composure. Pierre is devastated when she leaves, taking their baby son with her.
The focus of this film is on the minute details and emotional secrets of the faces of the couple. Both Isabelle Huppert and Daniel Auteil are superb playing their stock roles (Huppert- cold, icily beautiful and incommunicative; Auteil-bemused but motivated by love.) and create a supremely believable relationship. The camera work (supplemented by Pierre's home videos) enhances the sense of claustrophobia with its cold, blue tones and tight angles.
Overall a superb,if slightly icy,character study.