Hotel des Ameriques

After an anesthetist in Biarritz (Catherine Deneuve) accidentally runs down a local layabout (Patrick Dewaere), the two edge uncertainly toward romance, though it's periodically blocked by the former's grief over a dead lover and the latter's ambiguous friendship with a self-involved musician (Etienne Chicot). French director Andre Techine has called this 1981 feature his first to break free of film references and explore emotions directly; the bisexual issues and Bergman-esque psychodrama that characterize his later work are all evident here, though the characters' novelistic backstories are less assured than in the magisterial My Favorite Season (1993) or Thieves (1996). The use of 'Scope is resourceful, and Deneuve, in her first collaboration with Techine, is impressive. Techine cowrote the script with Gilles Taurand. In French with subtitles. 95 min.

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