La pirate | Chicago Reader

La pirate

Hoots and whistles greeted Jacques Doillon's film when it was shown at Cannes—which is generally a good sign that you're in the presence of something forceful and original. Doillon's films treat emotions not as wispy, spiritual creatures but as bodies with a physical weight and impact; La pirate is a love triangle filmed as if it were a tag-team wrestling match. Jane Birkin is the center of contention, a high-strung Englishwoman who doesn't feel loved unless she's being fought for; the contestants are her rangy husband (Birkin's brother, Andrew) and her female lover (Maruschka Detmers, of First Name: Carmen). Looking on from the sidelines are a private detective (Philippe Leotard) and an adolescent girl (Laure Marsac), both of whom feed on the violence of the confrontation. And violent it is: the film is a dizzying succession of couplings and collisions, propelled into some realm on the far side of hysteria by Doillon's feverish, claustrophobic mise-en-scene.

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