Kate (Jane Birkin) returns to her family’s circus after years of estrangement. On some lonely country road her car breaks down and Vittorio (Sergio Castellitto) stops his super-fancy car to help her. Afterwards, Kate invites him to the circus. Vittorio shows up and then kinda sticks around for the rest of the circus’ tour.
Beginning with the opening scene, this movie was ridiculous. Most of that was the fault of the script by Pascal Bonitzer, Christine Laurent and Jacques Rivette himself, but the absolutely overblown performance by Jane Birkin did its part as well. When the movie wasn’t being ridiculous, it was boring. So, definitely not recommended.
Where to start, where to start, ripping this film apart? Let’s start at the very beginning:
Kate is stranded on a lonely country road. When she gets out of the car, her hood’s already opened (how did it do that?). Instead of taking out her cellphone (which she definitely owns as is proved later in the movie), she stands around looking desperate. A super-awesome sports car drives past her, turns around and a super-awesome middle-aged man gets out, takes one look under the hood, fixes her car and drives off, without either of them saying a word. They meet again in the nearby village (where Kate could have probably walked to) and that’s when they start talking.
If you weren’t headdesking at least once after this description, you’ll probably like the movie.
And then it gets worse.
Vittorio starts stalking Kate. And I do mean stalking. He drives after the circus, sits in every show, befriends the other artists to find out more about Kate and snoops in her past. And nobody seems to find that weird, in fact, they enable him by telling him stuff about Kate. Whenever Kate says something along the lines of “you know, you’re really persistent” (and it’s never harsher than that), it’s all because she can’t connect to other people anymore after some traumatic experience in her past.
And because Vittorio didn’t save the damsel in distress enough when he fixed her car, he sets out to heal her from that same traumatic experience: As he finds out little by little, Kate’s boyfriend was in the circus and died during an act. Her father, the director at that time, didn’t even take one show off the schedule afterwards to mourn the loss and that’s why Kate left and never really got over that.
So, Vittorio goes ahead and takes away 20 years of grief by staging the same act and having Kate participate. And poof! everything’s great again.
But the best scene in the whole film was a monologue by Kate. She’s alone in the circus tent and the monologue runs basically like that: “After all this time, why do I still remember. I don’t want to remember. Oh, Antoine, Antoine! [I’m not sure about the name anymore, but it doesn’t really matter.] The grief, the pain! Antoine!!!!”
Summarising: Stay away.