總瀏覽量

2014年12月3日 星期三

L'Homme qu'on aimait trop (French Riviera) (以女兒之名)

In many ways, L'Homme qu'on aimait trop (French Riviera) (以女兒之名) (2014) by French director André Téchiné  is a film of mystery.

It's a love story played against the background of the fight for control over a casino in Nice, Le Palais de la Mediterrané, whose founder just died and left  40% of his stake in it to his wife Renée Le Roux (Catherine Deneuve) and 10% of it  to his daughter Agnès Le Roux (Adèle Haenel), who had just returned from Africa to claim her inheritance but as her mother had been persuaded by her young and handsome lawyer Maurice Agnelet (Guillaume Canet)  to take over the management of casino in the hope that she would retain him as his manager  she delayed in giving Renée's her shares. With Maurice's help, she won control but to the surprise and disappointment of Maurice, she did not appoint him as manager because she felt him "too pushy". So Maurice turned his attention to Renée, an innocent, young, introvertic  girl with few friends and whose only interest is in opening a bookshop which also sells various exotic artifacts and in swimming. Maurice was very attentive to her although in the beginning he deliberately told her that she is not "his type" of girl and that he was already married and   had many lovers. He did however tell Agnès not to listen to all the gossips about himself. Agnés fell for his charms and was soon head over heels in love with him. Maurice then arranged for her to meet Fratoni, who had close connections with the Mafia and who is already in control of a number of other competing casinos in the area and to offer to buy up the beneficial interest in Agnès shares for 3 million francs. That was in mid-1970s.When the money was transferred into Agnès' bank account, Maurice arranged for the money to be placed in two separate safe deposit boxes one opened in his Agnés' name and the other in Maurice's own name, ostensibly for security reasons but with a most peculiar condition, viz. that each could have complete access and full power of disposal of its contents to the other's safe deposit box.  When the arrangement was announced to Agnés at the bank and the relevant documents presented for her signature, Agnés looked a bit suprised but after a moment's hesitation, put her signature to it. When Renée tried to implement a plan to re-organize the casino so as to cut losses, upon the advice of Maurice, Agnè voted against it resulting in Renée losing control of the casino and the Fratoni ganging up with the other sharesholders, gaining complete control after which he had the casino would up.


Shortly thereafter, Maurice started to distance himself from Agnés who tried to commit suicide because she could not live without him. When she went to the bank to look at the deposit box, she found that all her money had completely disappeared. Not long after that, Agnés too disappeared. What happened? Was she still alive? Was she murdered? If so, where is her body? The story is based on a most intriguing suspected murder in French history. 30 years after it happened, Renée pressed the police to re-open the case of the disappearance of her daughter and to start prosecuting Maurice for the murder of her daughter. According to the information on the screen, Renée was convicted based on circumstantial evidence in 2006 but was acquitted on appeal and a re-trial ordered in 2007 but another triad said he was not the real culprit and he was acquitted but two years later in April of this year, he was convicted again upon the evidence of Maurice's own son.

To André Téchiné, what is interesting is not the "murder without a corpse" but the very innocent and pure love of Agnès for Maurice, a love for which she asked for little except Maurice 's physical proximity to her: hence the title of the film "L'Homme qu'on aimait trop" which translates into "The man one loved too much" . What makes the film tick is not really the plot but the uniformly excellent acting of Adèle Haenel, Catherine Deneuve and Guillaume Cane, specially that of Adèle Haenel's which makes an otherwise impossible love feel credible.