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"Alice and Martin"

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André Téchiné, the director and a co-writer of Alice and Martin, has one of the most rapturously lyrical film techniques around. His early works, such as French Provincial and Barocco, or, more recently, Wild Reeds, are pure bliss-outs. Alice and Martin ought to be one, too, since it's essentially a depiction of amour fou: Martin (Alexis Loret), running away from his damaged past, is swept up by Alice (Juliette Binoche), a violinist who lives in Paris. Though Alice initially seems closed off, Martin's extensive turmoils turn her on. Their love is meant to be a grand folly, but both Alice and Martin are too opaque to raise temperatures. It makes sense that Martin becomes a male model in Paris: He's all surface. When he's pained, it's as if he were advertising anguish. Juliette Binoche is a much more resonant performer, but in a way she's an advertisement, too: She might be pitching a new parfum, Despair. Despite some glorious passages, Alice and Martin is play-act passion.


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