Years after the two-part work Smoking/No Smoking (1993), Alain Resnais again films a work by the British playwright Alan Ayckbourn: Private Fears in Public Spaces. Resnais moved the action from London to Paris - because there too people wrestle with love and with visible and invisible separation that sometimes seems to exist between them.
Nicole is desperately looking for an apartment for her and her fiancé Dan. But he does little else than hang around the bar, unemployed. He doesn’t feel like applying for a job. Thierry, the estate agent who shows Nicole a house, faces advances from an unexpected corner: from his happy and pious colleague Charlotte. Charlotte, in turn, looks after Lionel’s old father and he works in Dan’s favourite bar. When Nicole and Dan break up, Dan puts a contact ad in the paper.
Resnais (now in his eighties) is still a master at directing actors. The entire cast is excellent. Lightly and subtly in many short scenes, Resnais takes us through occasionally depressing situations in which he uses pictures of a beautiful snow shower to distinguish the scenes. Separations can also be seen in the mise en scène in the form of curtains and walls which serve to stress loneliness and inaccessibility.

International title
Private Fears in Public Places
Filmmaker
Alain Resnais
Country
France, Italy
Year
2006
Medium
35mm
Length
120’
Language
French
Producer
Bruno Pésery
Production Company
Soudaine Compagnie, BIM Distribuzione, Studio Canal, France 2 Cinéma, SFP Cinema
Sales
Studio Canal
Writer
Alain Resnais, Jean-Michel Ribes, Alan Ayckbourn, based on the play Private Fears in Public Places by Alan Ayckbourn
Cinematography
Eric Gauthier
Editor
Hervé de Luze
Production Design
Jaques Saulnier, Jean-Michel Ducourty, Solange Zeitoun
Sound Design
Jean-Marie Blondel
Music
Marc Snow
Cast
Sabine Azéma, Isabelle Carré