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Neither Eve Nor Adam

Gilles Guillaume Verdier

Gilles Guillaume Verdier

Gabrielle Morgane Hainaux

Gabrielle’s Mother Frederique Gagnol

Gilles’ Mother Helene Chambon

Gilles’ Father Luc Tissot

Two teen outcasts take to the road in a doomed attempt to flee society in “Neither Eve Nor Adam,” a small, offbeat art film with a touchingly human core. Weak on pace and acting, pic redeems itself in a stark, simple finale with religious overtones. It has a small-screen look but should attract attention at festivals.

Pic unfolds as a series of incidents with little real action. Making his feature film bow, helmer Jean Paul Civeyrac seems most interested in studying his two adolescent characters and describing the nuances of their delicate relationship. Gilles (Guillaume Verdier) is a 14-year-old bad boy, the outrageous scapegoat of a tidy, multiracial town in the respectable French hinterlands. A handsome lad who behaves atrociously, Gilles even steals money from a girl he likes, Gabrielle (Morgane Hainaux), and humiliates her until she locks him out of her life.

Civeyrac skillfully balances the boy’s aggressive, antisocial behavior against the unfairness of the people around him. When Gilles’ father kicks him out of the house for stupidly gagging his little sister and almost letting her suffocate, one can understand the father while still seeing him as cruelly cold-hearted.

Roaming the streets like a stray dog, eating out of garbage cans and freezing in the cold, Gilles finally rouses Gabrielle’s pity. With the police after them over a misunderstanding, they make a run for it in her mother’s car, until they reach an isolated farmhouse where they become lovers. Pic ends with a tragic accident that, looking back, seems inevitable.

Both Verdier and Hainaux are wooden in the leading roles, not aided by the banal dialogue.

Clean and crisp in daylight, Pascal Poucet’s lensing lacks contrast in the night scenes, making it hard to see what’s going on. Score is composed almost entirely of classical organ music, which at first seems pretentious in a context of social delinquency, but gathers credibility by pic’s end.

Neither Eve Nor Adam

(NI D'EVE NI D'ADAM)

  • Production: (FRENCH) Produced by Philippe Martin for Les Films Pelleas/Glem Film/La Sept Cinema. Directed by Jean Paul Civeyrac. Screenplay, Civeyrac, Pierre Erwan Guillaume.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Pascal Poucet; editor, Andrea Sedlackova; art direction, Brigitte Brassart; sound, Olivier Mauvezin. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Fast Lane), Sept. 4, 1996. Running time: 90 MIN.
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