La captive

  • 108'
  • France
  • 2000
A pretty young woman, Ariane (Sylvie Testud), lives with the wealthy Simon (Stanislas Merhar) in a large old Parisian apartment that he shares with his grandmother. Simon is obsessed by Ariane and treats her like a prisoner. She willingly subjects herself to his indirect desires, his incessant pursuits and his endless questions, which she answers in a neutral and fairly evasive way to provide a little protection for her own privacy and freedom. She is sympathetic and affectionate towards Simon, but prefers women as sexual partners. Simon knows she leads a double life. While this serves to increase the pain, obsession and desire, it also seems to suit him, because it is in the interest of his sexual proclivities that she remain passive: if she is asleep, or pretends to be, this excludes real physical contact.Chantal Akerman was inspired by La prisonnière by Marcel Proust for this story. The mood of the film is elegant and 'classical'. The sets and colours are restrained and the film primarily comprises static, classically composed shots, in which the camera maintains a respectful distance from the characters. The visual restraint is only broken by the poignantly romantic music that crescendos over the dialogues and adds an accent to the tragedy. Kay Armatage, Toronto catalogue: 'An elegant and soulful meditation on desire, obsession, love and pain.'
Director
Chantal Akerman
Countries of production
France, Belgium
Year
2000
Festival Edition
IFFR 2001
Length
108'
Medium
35mm
Language
French
Producer
Gemini Films
Sales
Gemini Films
Screenplay
Eric de Kuyper, Chantal Akerman
Cast
Liliane Rovère, Stanislas Merhar