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June 13, 2016

FROM THE LAND OF THE MOON — CANNES 2016

Mal-de-PierresCannes, France —After bombing at Cannes in 2015 with Justin Kurzel’s abominable adaptation of “Macbeth,” Marion Cotillard plays an impossible protagonist for an audience to empathize with.

The pattern seems to suggest that Marion Cotillard deserves better script choices. Cotillard’s carefully crafted portrayal of Gabrielle, a bi-polar woman living in post World War II Southern France, is squandered in a story that sentimentalizes mental illness.

Gabrielle’s romantic fantasy, involving a fellow patient at a Swiss retreat hospital in the Alps, doesn’t hold as much narrative weight as the filmmaker imagines. We see a woman who treats her hard-working peasant husband like dirt, while rubbing his nose in it by writing an endless stream of love letters to her absent lover. Gabrielle isn’t just cruel, she is castrating.

Mal-de-Pierres

Nicole Garcia’s formal approach to compositions and dramatic climaxes gives the movie a feeling of being trapped beneath gauze. Garcia clearly knows how to tell stories on film, but gets mired in the nature of the film’s source novel (by Milena Agus). I don’t know if anyone could make an entertaining film from Agus’s book, based on what I see of it in this unpleasant picture.

Not Rated. 120 mins. (C-) (Two Stars — out of five / no halves)

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