"Thus open the gates of paradise."

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Alice et Martin

06 Apr 2002

What a treat. The third new Juliette Binoche film (for me) in the last six weeks. This one was released in France in November '98 to mixed reviews at best. Myself, I'm not inclined to offer anything remotely like a review. My problem is that whenever Binoche is on screen, my eyes are full with love, and I barely see the rest of the picture.

I don't mean to bore you with my subjective opinions of loveliness; instead I'll bore you with some movie trivia. This is the second film Binoche has made with director André Téchiné, the first being "Rendez-vous" (made in 1985) which was one of the first to bring her a lot of attention. Certainly, if "Rendez-vous" went down well with you, so will "Alice et Martin". Both are love stories, though they're not at all as straightforward as anything else you're likely to see.

Binoche plays Alice, a violin player who ekes out a living in Paris. She lives with her (gay) friend Benjamin (Mathieu Amalric), an actor who is similarly struggling to make ends meet. They pool their money to pay rent and occasional utility bill. Then Benjamin's brother Martin (Alexis Loret) arrives, after having disappeared for over a month following the death of his father. Within a week, he's found a job as a model and is flush with money. Soon his eyes are full of Alice...

And on it goes until Martin has a nervous breakdown, and the story takes us into Martin's past so that we can understand the forces that are driving him towards the story's conclusion. How's that? Vague enough for you? Look -- part of this film's appeal is the ride it gives you, and what kind of pal would I be to tell you what's going to happen?

Watching the movie made me want to be in Paris when the snow is falling. Or when it's raining. Or whenever you can rent a round marble-top table in a café and drink espresso and stare out into space.


Alice et Martin

Alexis Loret and Juliette Binoche

Related Sites

Alice et Martin (Official Site, in French)
Alice et Martin (IMDB)