The Other One

As an exploration of the shiny surfaces and sleek, mall-like enclosures of the new Paris, Pierre Trividic and Patrick Mario Bernard's sophomore outing endlessly fascinates. As an excursion into the madness of jealousy, however, pic dead-ends almost before it starts.

With:
With: Dominique Blanc, Cyril Guei. Peter Bonke, Christele Tual, Anne Benoit.

As an exploration of the shiny surfaces and sleek, mall-like enclosures of the new Paris, Pierre Trividic and Patrick Mario Bernard’s sophomore outing endlessly fascinates. As an excursion into the madness of jealousy, however, pic dead-ends almost before it starts. Based on the French novel “L’Occupation,” “The Other One” concerns a 47-year-old woman’s growing obsession with her young ex-boyfriend’s unseen, new girlfriend, also a 47-year-old woman. Strong visual stylings (already noticeable in the filmmakers’ arty debut, “Ballroom”) cannot compensate for the heroine’s tiresomely self-reflective nuttiness. Outlook appears dim.

An increasingly off-balance social worker (vet character actress Dominique Blanc), who can deal with other people’s problems but not her own, moves through a landscape of neon-lit, mall-nested cafes, glass-enclosed high-rise office buildings, hermetically sealed buses and subways cars, and apartments regulated by an electronic “cyberbox.” Blanc, looking particularly Bette Davis-like, manages to convey her character’s fundamental sanity as well as her increasing derailment. Once she stops moving, however, pic goes nowhere, falling back on the repetitive mirror imagery that dominated “Ballroom,” which starred the two quasi-identical bald and bearded helmers themselves.

The Other One

France

Production: An Ex Nihilo production, with the participation of Canal Plus, Cinecinema, in association with Cinemage 2, Soficinema 4, Mercure Intl., with the participation of Centre National de la Cinematographie. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Patrick Sobelman. Directed, written by Patrick Mario Bernard, Pierre Trividic, from the novel "L'Occupation" by Annie Ernaux.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Pierric Gantelmi d'Ille; editor, Yann Dedet; music, Rep Muzak; production designer, Daphne Deboaisne, Axel Deboaisne; costume designer, Anais Romand. Original title: L'Autre. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing), Aug. 30, 2008. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Dominique Blanc, Cyril Guei. Peter Bonke, Christele Tual, Anne Benoit.

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