Totally Flaky

The coltish young girlfriend of a college boy takes a perverse shine to his charmingly thuggish drug dealer in Jacques Doillon's "Totally Flaky." As hermetic exercises go, this chipper, rather than sleazy, pic is a bang-up job. But while crix may enjoy the impressively fluid lensing and acting, it's difficult to imagine many customers paying for these much-ado-about-nothing shenanigans.

With:
Fred - Lou Doillon Sylvia - Caroline Ducey Alex - Guillaume Saurrel Francois - Camille Clavel

The coltish young girlfriend of a college boy takes a perverse shine to his charmingly thuggish drug dealer in Jacques Doillon’s “Totally Flaky,” a mile-a-minute sampler of contempo speech patterns and slang uttered by three energetic leads. As hermetic exercises go, this chipper, rather than sleazy, pic — lensed largely in a hotel suite by night — is a bang-up job. But while crix may enjoy the impressively fluid lensing and acting, it’s difficult to imagine many customers paying for these much-ado-about-nothing shenanigans. Given director’s name, fests may bite.

Francois (Camille Clavel), the b.f. of Fred (Lou Doillon, helmer’s daughter by Jane Birkin), owes money to Alex (live-wire newcomer Guillaume Saurrel). When Alex gives Francois a beating, Fred unaccountably falls for him. Both parties are out of their league as Fred encourages Alex to pick up mopey Sylvia (Caroline Ducey, from “Romance”) in a club. The three repair to a pricey hotel suite where the talk never stops as Fred perversely tries to throw Alex and Sylvia together, with mixed results.

The idea is to update the so-called “marivaudage” (slyly crafted theatrical banter and intricate machinations) of Marivaux’s plays to the rat-a-tat-tat slang and lazy courtship rituals of today’s youth. But in a world in which women can fend for themselves and only feelings — rather than eternal societal reprobation — are at stake, this bouncy experiment falls flat.

Totally Flaky

France

Production: A Les Films du Losange release of a DIBA Films production, in association with France 3 Cinema, with participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: Les Films du Losange, Paris.) Produced by Richard Djoudi. Executive producer, Muriel Robine. Directed, written by Jacques Doillon.

Crew: Camera (color), Caroline Champetier; editor, Catherine Quesemand; costume designer, Mic Cheminal; sound (Dolby), Frederic Ullman, Dominique Hennequin; assistant directors, Lola Doillon, Emmanuelle Gaborit. Reviewed at Planet Hollywood screening room, Paris, April 24, 2001. (In Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard.) Running time: 99 MIN.

With: Fred - Lou Doillon Sylvia - Caroline Ducey Alex - Guillaume Saurrel Francois - Camille ClavelWith: Xavier Villeneuve, Hafed Benotman, Joshua Phillips, Antoine Chain.

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