Lengthy, Tedious French Film
Release Date: September 29, 2001
Starring: Sergio Castellitto, Jeanne
Balibar, Marianne Basler,
Jaques Bonnaffe, Helene De
Fougerolles, & Bruno
Rating: PG-13 for brief nudity
Runtime: 154 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics/Sony
Director: Jacques Rivette
Executive Producer: Pierre Grise & Maurice
Producer: Martine Marignac
Writer: Pascal Bonitzer
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard & Marcie Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Camille forces an awkward dinner with herself, Ugo, Pierre (the ex), and Pierre’s current love, Sonia (Marianne Basler), with disastrous results. Now, everyone knows she is still in love with Pierre, and it looks like the couples are going to spontaneously combust.
Meanwhile, Ugo is searching old libraries to find an old manuscript from an Italian playwright that he can make into a show. While searching, this late-thirties, not particularly attractive man becomes the infatuation of a single, attractive, early twenties Parisian named Do.
Do helps him find the manuscript and meet her half-brother, Arthur (Bruno Todeschini), a shady crook who thinks himself a lady’s man. As the story develops, it is revealed that he has a “thing” going on with Pierre’s girl, Sonia. Apparently, they had a life of crime together at some earlier time. Soon, Arthur also falls for Camille, who is still confused between Pierre and Ugo, but has now befriended Sonia. Who is going to end up with whom? Will Ugo lose Camille? Will Sonia lose Pierre to Camille? Will Ugo fall for the younger woman? Will Arthur lure Sonia back into his clutches? After two and a half hours of slow French dialogue, including scenes from the Italian play somehow linked to the narrative, the most appropriate question might be, “Who cares?”
VA SAVOIR, translated into WHO KNOWS in English, is an aptly titled film. Meant to be a pithy romantic farce, the movie wallows along with too many moony-eyed, “I’m in love so I can walk around pining and looking depressed,” scenes.
Is there anything a believer can squeeze from this movie? The worldview is a humanist one. Everyone in it is trying to find that “golden-haired” boy or girl that will meet all of his or her needs and fill the emptiness within them. It is mildly entertaining, but once it becomes clear that Do and Arthur are possibly “too close” as half brother and sister, the audience may get a nauseous pit in their stomach that says, “Enough is too much!” Beyond the “next great romance,” none of the characters ever finds the lasting fulfillment of their empty heart cups.
Thus, this movie is only suitable for insomniacs or people who need to brush up on French or Italian languages. It has one brief, totally useless shot of Camille bare-topped, getting out of a shower, and the attraction between half-siblings Do and Arthur make this movie undesirable for most viewers.
VA SAVOIR (WHO KNOWS?) might be more aptly titled, “Who Cares?” Meant to be a pithy romantic farce, the movie wallows along with too much moony-eyed romantic angst. With one partial-nudity scene, a humanist worldview and an allusion to incest, this movie is undesirable for most viewers