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17 Times Cecile Cassard

A first feature about bereavement, "17 Times Cecile Cassard" fails to shed new light on the painful subject. Ponderously and self-importantly directed, pic follows a recently widowed woman -- a one note performance by Beatrice Dalle -- who dumps her small son and takes off for another town to start a new life.

A first feature about bereavement, “17 Times Cecile Cassard” fails to shed new light on the painful subject. Ponderously and self-importantly directed, pic follows a recently widowed woman — a one note performance by Beatrice Dalle — who dumps her small son and takes off for another town to start a new life. Murky images, unattractive characters and excessive length will limit this to gay fests and marginal screenings.

Dalle portrays the eponymous Cecile (the “17 times” reference never makes any sense). She can’t get over the accidental death of her husband, Thierry (Jerome Kircher), who, in the opening sequence, appears to her, naked, in a ghostly vision. She drives to Toulouse, where she rents a room in a seedy hotel. Soon she begins to attract testosterone-charged boys and gay men. After a great deal of listless fag-hag scenes, Cecile finds a soulmate in Matthieu (Romain Duris), who offers to father her child. Pic reaches its nadir in an extended scene in which a near-naked Matthieu sings the title song from Jacques Demy’s “Lola.” In an entirely extraneous sequence, what appears to be a horse is dismembered to feed a hungry crowd.

17 Times Cecile Cassard

Un Certain Regard/France

  • Production: An ARP release (in France) of a Sepia production, in association with ARP, Arte France Cinema, Canal Plus. (International sales: ARP, Paris.) Produced by Philippe Jacquier, Beatrice Mauduit. Co-producers, Michele Petin, Laurent Petin. Directed, written by Christophe Honore.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Remy Chevrin; editor, Chantal Hymans; music, Alex Beaupain; production designer, Laurent Allaire; costume designer, Pierre Canitrot. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 16, 2002. Original title: <I>17 fois Cecile Casssard</I>. Running time: 106 MIN.
  • With: <B>With: </B>Beatrice Dalle, Romain Duris, Jeanne Balibar, Ange Ruze, Johan Odeiro-Robles, Tiago Manaia, Jerome Kircher, Julien Collet.
  • Music By: