Gabrielle | Chicago Reader

Gabrielle

Though based on a short story by Joseph Conrad, Patrice Chereau's Gabrielle brings to mind the plays of Strindberg and Albee. Chereau was a man of the theater before becoming a film director, and this highly stylized portrait of a loveless marriage at the beginning of the 20th century merges a claustrophobic theatricality with dazzlingly cinematic wide-screen compositions (the sumptuous cinematography is by Eric Gautier). The narrative is propelled by the decision of Gabrielle (Isabelle Huppert in a superb performance) to return to her befuddled husband, Jean (Pascal Greggory), after a passionate dalliance with another man. By the time she declares that she's repelled by the very idea of her husband's sperm inside her, their bourgeois household has become a minefield. In French with subtitles. 90 min.

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