Also with: Antoine Basler, Carlotta Soldevilla, Nanou, Marie Peyrucq-Yamou, Gladys Gambie, Makeda.
After directing Myriam Mezieres in “A Flame in My Heart,” Alain Tanner takes a plunge into the actress’s world with “The Diary of Lady M.” Mezieres wrote the screenplay based on her own diary, and result is an intense love story performed in the first person. Be-
sides the limited art-film circuit, pic should have a shot at wider markets due to its red-hot sex scenes and overall erotic charge.
Mezieres, a sultry, bewitching red head, identifies herself only as Lady M, a sexy singer in exotic Parisian bistros. One night a Spanish painter, Diego (Juanjo Puligcorbe), catches her act and waits for her after the show. After a night with her walking around Paris, he leaves for Spain.
Their love affair begins when Lady M impulsively goes to Barcelona to see him again. Diego drives her around Catalonia, where the two alternate torrid lovemaking with surprisingly delicate conversation. Mostly it’s Mezieres talking in lyrical voiceover, poetically expressing her feelings about her lover and the rest of the world.
If M’s feelings are minutely described, the painter’s are hidden behind a veil of reticence. His secret emerges when a photo of his black wife, Nuria (Felicite Wouassi), and their little girl drops out of his wallet. Lady M is crushed, and soon leaves. But back in Paris, she misses him so much she invites him to come, even if it means bringing his family. Soon everybody is living awkwardly in her small apartment until passion draws the adults into a threesome.
Pic loses altitude at this point, as events are hurriedly told, and story ends in an improbable coda that is instantly forgettable.
Mezieres is a consummate performer, and Lady M’s nightclub numbers are most enjoyable. She radiates sensitivity and intelligence and is riveting to the point of overwhelming the film.
“Diary” is at its best when it opens a curtain on the backstage world of singers and artists. Mezieres calls it an outlaw’s life, and she is painfully conscious that she is different from normal folk. Her introspective acceptance of this difference is unexpectedly moving.
Pic’s extremely frank sex scenes have a shocking realism and seem a natural outgrowth of Mezieres’ honesty in recounting her feelings. A scene in which Lady M shaves her pubic hair and dances for her lover clothed only in a long, dangling earring must set some kind of art-film precedent.