Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Private Fears in Public Places

Posted on

Private Fears in Public Places

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
120 minutes
performer:
Sabine Azema, Lambert Wilson
director:
Alain Resnais
distributor:
IFC First Take
author:
Jean-Michel Ribes
genre:
Foreign Language, Drama

We gave it a B

A chill runs through Alain Resnais’ graceful Private Fears In Public Places. Based on a British play, the French drama features six characters in a series of interlocking scenes, stitched together with glimpses of a snow-covered Paris. There’s an engaged couple, a real estate agent, his lonely sister, a middle-aged bartender, and a religious receptionist. They make understated attempts at connecting, but mostly fail: The couple (Lambert Wilson and Laura Morante) bicker incessantly; the sister makes personal-ad dates with men who stand her up. Renais (Last Year at Marienbad) provides an excellent showcase for his cast, especially Pierre Arditi as the weary bartender, resigned to his fate working at an awful hotel bar and caring for his abusive, bedridden dad. But there’s a claustrophobia to the film that even dashes of humor — like a fumbling encounter with an amateur porn tape — don’t alleviate. The spaces these people inhabit never seem much warmer than the winter landscape. B

Comments