The characters fail to spring loose from their template origins in this rocky female-bonding pic.

Sultry Gallic actress Emmanuelle Beart finds herself between the sheets again in “Ma compagne de nuit,” though this time, it’s because she plays a bedridden, terminally ill woman, in a pic with higher aspirations than it can realize. Tyro helmer Isabelle Brocard’s rocky female-bonding pic, about a dying woman and her vivacious and curvy help, tries to juxtapose two dissimilar personalities and bodies, but the characters fail to spring loose from their template origins, existing as only opposites of each other. Local biz was minimal, and beyond Eurotube sales, chances look slim.

Julia (a haggard-looking Beart, impressive) is a combative femme with cancer who prefers to pay an earthy and inexperienced hospital cleaner (Hafsia Herzi, spirited) to look after her during her last days rather than have her family around. Though other characters appear, and Brocard filmed on different locations (including outdoors), the penumbral and claustrophobically shot pic never overcomes the impression it’s a filmed theatrical two-hander. Appearance by Bruno Todeschini, as Julia’s paramour, serves only as a reminder that Chereau’s “His Brother” tackled similar material more convincingly. Score is akin to whining; other craft contributions are unassuming.

Ma compagne de nuit



A Zelig Films release of a Mille et une Prods. presentation and production. Produced by Edouard Mauriat, Anne-Cecile Berthomeau. Directed by Isabelle Brocard. Screenplay, Brocard, Helene Laurent.


Camera (color), Jeanne Lapoirie; editor, Martine Giordano; music, Manuel Peskine; production designer, Herald Najar; costume designer, Cecile Cotten. Reviewed at Brady Theatre, Paris, April 11, 2011. Running time: 105 MIN.


Emmanuelle Beart, Hafsia Herzi, Laurent Grevill, Alain Cerrer, Annabelle Hettmann, Pierre Derenne, Alexandra Stewart, Bernard Verley, Bruno Todeschini.

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