Joachim Lafosse's Private Property (Belgium-Fra-Lux / 2006)

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Joachim Lafosse's Private Property (Belgium-Fra-Lux / 2006)

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:31 am

*A 2007 (U.S.) Release*

This may sound futile considering the vastly disparate lot she has already embodied in her rich filmography, but Pascale is one of the more interesting characters Isabelle Huppert has had to personify in recent years. Essentially a "child-woman" who perhaps married far too young and took too long to recognize that she chose the wrong companion, Pascale can't help but betray a palpable essence of vulnerability; she appears to be someone who could easily be taken advantage of.

In the early goings of writer-director Joachim Lafosses riveting domestic drama, Private Property (Nue proprit), this divorce is often seen on the receiving end of the sarcastic and ill-natured remarks of her irresponsible twin teenage sons, Thierry and Franois, whom she resides with in a large decaying farmhouse on the outskirts of a French-speaking Belgian town. Living rather peacefully with his new family nearby, Pascales ex claims to be the rightful owner of the domicile. But once Pascale relates her plans of possibly selling the house in order to finance a business venture with her Flemish lover, the tensions which had long been brewing underneath the surface come to the fore.

Lafosse, who boasts a theatrical background, largely favors single-camera setups with little to no movement, as if to emphasize the boundaries (or lack thereof) which at once cradle and impair the members of this family. Well played by real-life brothers Jrmie and Yannick Renier (the former being the star of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes La Promesse [1996] and LEnfant [2005]), the overgrown Thierry and Franois, who under certain circumstances appear emotionally susceptible themselves, could be said to represent those who come of age in a broken, fatherless home. Even though Franois is less aggressive and more in tune with his mothers aspirations, hes just as aimless as his brother, and they along with others in Pascales life chart their misfortunes on her as it suits them. Not surprisingly, however, Huppert's Pascale doesn't ask for our sympathy; her complex gestural vocabulary enables her to toy with the audience, not to mention those around her. Perhaps too silly to be "Shakespearean," her Pascale is ultimately more akin to Mother Nature, who sometimes simply does what she's supposed to do, though leaving nothing but disaster in her wake.

Grade: B+

*PRIVATE PROPERTY premiered at the 2006 Venice Film Festival (in-competition). It also played at TIFF '06.

*Distributed in the U.S. by New Yorker Films and Red Envelope Entertainment.

*Joachim Lafosse has directed two other features thus far: Folie prive (2004) and a rend heureux (2006).

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