By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated November 10, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

In the humidly self-serious French drama about the drama of making drama La Petite Lili, filmmaker Claude Miller (Alias Betty) appropriates Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull as his plot skeleton. He populates his retelling with actresses, filmmakers, and attractive hangers-on taking their ease in a country-house setting lovelier than any of the sourpusses deserve. Most everyone pines unrequitedly for someone pining unrequitedly for someone else. And most of them have opinions about the difficulty of making art, the melancholy of getting older, the miseries of unrequitedness, etc.

Because the talk never gets beyond statement making, and because the characters emit none of Chekhov’s radiantly lived-in soulfulness, there’s plenty of time to appreciate the sun-kissed landscape. Certainly Swimming Pool‘s Ludivine Sagnier in the title role is chief among the attractions. Once again she plays a sexy beastess who feels most comfortable with her shirt off. And once again millions will urge, Girl, go ahead and make yourself at home!