Love, or at least sex, quite literally hurts in Jacques Doillon’s “Mes seances de lutte,” a feature that would’ve been a short if the characters had figured out in the first five minutes that they were into sadomasochism and pounding each other, instead of loquaciously beating around the bush for an hour before finally (and brutally) letting things rip. This tale of a mourning country lass’s flowery verbal and then carnal sparring matches with a hunky caretaker is fearlessly acted/embodied, but auds for this extended pre-coital conversation and subsequent collection of money shots will be confined to sprocket operas or Internet downloads.Doillon’s “You, Me and Us” premiered only two months ago, and while the helmer hasn’t quite become Gaul’s James Franco, there’s a similar sense that he’s rushed from one project to the next, trying to hide a lack of depth behind endless, faux-philosophical dialogue and more than a hint of good-old sex. Sara Forestier (“The Names of Love”) and James Thierree (Chaplin’s grandson and a renowned circus performer) admiringly go for broke, but commitment alone barely suffices. The tech package lacks punch; untranslated international title is “Love Battles.”
A Doillon et Compagnie production, in association with B Media Export, Backup Media, Canal Plus. (International sales: Doc & Film, Paris.) Produced by Daniel Marquet, Jacques Doillon. Directed, written by Jacques Doillon.
Camera (color, HD), Laurent Chalet, Laurent Fenart; editor, Marie Da Costa; production designer, Anais Romand; costume designer, Rachele Raoult; sound, Ivan Dumas. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama Special), Feb. 11, 2013. Running time: 99 MIN.
Sara Forestier, James Thierree, Louise Szpindel, Mahault Mollaret, Bill Leyshon.