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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars subtle and rewarding, 1 April 2013
This review is from: Un Coeur En Hiver [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
The majority of reviewers are surely right to praise this film very highly; it is really very subtle, and can be returned to with renewed pleasure. A couple of things strike me from my own left field perspective: first, it may well be that Daniel Auteuil's character is sexually ambiguous, and that this may account for his oddly withheld actions. There is one moment when his male assistant, Brice, leaves the workshop with a young woman who has come to meet him and there is something in Auteuil's glance at him that suggests a possible attraction. At the end of the film Brice is going to marry with Stephane as his best man, a role he seems happy to take on. Given the age difference, Brice's heterosexuality and Stephane's reserve, it seems very likely that if there were some sense of desire on his part it would go unmentioned, and may not even be something he thinks of in those terms. It's also intriguing for the way it mirrors the question mark over Ravel's own sexuality, about which nothing seems to be concretely known, but it's not hard to imagine that the composer of L'Heure Espagnole might have been gay. As if to play up the parallel Stephane collects mechanical toys exactly as Ravel did.

The film does present a sympathetic portrayal of a gay female character of a more overt type, possibly in counterpoint to this; Regine, Camille's agent, is in many ways the most levelheaded and considerate of the main characters. As another reviewer has pointed out, for all his warmth Maxime does leave his wife without too much concern, it seems, simply remarking that someone always suffers. The film seems to suggest, at the end, that nearly everyone suffers a bit, and that such is the nature of life - except Brice, perhaps, but we don't see much of him ... Another point of interest to me was to recognise this actor and only later to make a link with Au Revoir Les Enfants in which he plays the main character's older brother. It's a pity he hasn't been in more films, I think ...
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