This is a film I saw first at the cinema, and then saw again just recently (having seen Holy Motors). It is a wonderful balance between the naturalistic and the stylized, and portrays its characters as both sympathetic and selfish (compromised, I guess). A great example of the stylization of the film comes in the fire breathing scene, where we see the happiness of the occasion for one participant, their freedom through a skill, and the admiration it brings in the other for just a moment before it is marred by the pains in her (Michelle's) eyes -- made real to us through the use (mainly) of the sounds. Denis Lavant and Juliette Binoche do an absolutely fantastic job as beggars, lovers, and survivors. Terrific stuff.