Review: ‘The Blonde With Bare Breasts’

Despite what some may consider a promising title, there's unfortunately little to show for it.

Despite what some may consider a promising title, there’s unfortunately little to show for it in “The Blonde With Bare Breasts,” writer-director Manuel Pradal’s aimless intrigue about two brothers who steal Manet’s famous painting, only to have their plans foiled by a mysterious femme fatale. Like the helmer’s previous pics (“Marie Baie des Anges,” “A Crime”), this one is clearly a case of style over substance, the latter of which is so ephemeral and misconstrued that it hampers whatever pleasures can be had from vet Yorgos Arvanitis’ gorgeous location lensing. B-sized French rollout will be followed by scattered fest action.

Set on a riverboat reminiscent of Jean Vigo’s “L’Atalante,” and featuring a tattooed captain (Nicolas Duvauchelle) and his crafty younger sibling (Steve Le Roi, powerful), pic has plenty of elements — not forgetting the blonde (Vahina Giocante) and her breasts — to create a powerful and absorbing tale of a robbery gone awry. But Pradal’s script is far from developed, and his direction focuses on merely the sensual (and often senseless) details of a narrative that never gains momentum. Terrific shooting on the Seine feels worthy of another movie.

The Blonde With Bare Breasts

France

Production

A Eurozoom release of a Legende, Legende Films production, in association with Sofica Coficup 3, Un Fonds Back Up Films, Cofinova 5, Uni Etoile 6, with participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Ilan Goldman. Executive producer, Marc Vade. Directed, written by Manuel Pradal.

Crew

Camera (color), Yorgos Arvanitis; editor, Beatrice Herminie; production designer, Jean-Marc Kerdelhue; costume designers, Nathalie Du Roscoat, Mathilde Fontaine. Reviewed at Paris Cinema Film Festival (Premieres), Paris, July 4, 2010. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Vahina Giocante, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Steve Le Roi, Paul Schmidt, Brendan Backmann, Jacques Spiesser.
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