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Mathes, B. (2012). Closer to You. DIVISION/Rev., 6:38-40.

(2012). DIVISION/Review, 6:38-40


Closer to You

Review by:
Bettina Mathes, Ph.D.

Words must be followed. Images come to us. But there are films that return me to words-my own words and that of others. Films that go slowly. Films that are opaque. Films that don't impress me with feelings that aren't mine. Films that don't “say” anything. Films that frustrate. Films that are often made in France.

La Captive, inspired by Proust's La Prisonière, is such a film. A film about obsession and jealousy, about the destructive (and sometimes necessary) urge to manipulate and possess the person we love, about the obstacles we create in order to desire, and how they hold us captive. About Simon (Stanislav Merhar), a wealthy young man, and his (lesbian) lover Ariane (Sylvie Testud), who stays with him in his palatial Paris apartment, indulging his obsession. A film that contains neither judgment nor explanation. A quiet film. The little dialogue there is is mostly whispered. A film in which language is (mostly) a dead end. Simon: “What were you thinking?” Ariane: “Nothing.” Simon: “Nothing? Tell me, Ariane, what you're thinking?” Ariane: “If I had thoughts, I'd tell you, but I don't.”

This film about obsessive love can itself become an obsession. Since its release in 2001 I must have watched La Captive close to 100 times, perhaps more. The slow rhythm, the irresistible beauty of the framing, the near-static images, the lack of emotions in the acting and the photography (no drama, no psychology), the quiet drive toward death.

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