"Thus open the gates of paradise."

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L'Ecole De La Chair (The School Of Flesh)

06 Apr 2002

Poster of L'Ecole de la ChairThe picture on the right is the from the poster of L'Ecole De La Chair, or The School Of Flesh in English. The woman looking right into your soul is Isabelle Huppert, and on this hot and humid evening, I will make no apologies for saying over and over again that she's the bee's knees.

The film is about a woman who has a fling with a younger man. And it's about some of the things on which love is based, or could be based: gratitude, the desire to be wanted, lust, power. Huppert plays Dominique (the woman, if that wasn't clear) who is always in control. She doesn't make a big deal of it, and we see it partly in the way the other characters react to it -- to her -- but it grabbed my attention and never let it go. There is something very appealing about someone who does more acting than reacting, more so because I don't see a lot of it in film.

And of course, Huppert can act with subtly and grace without ever sounding false or put on. In the scene where she first meets the young boy toy Quentin (played by Vincent Martinez), she spends a long time just looking at him. Not doing much of anything, just looking. She has the ability to be eloquent with the smallest of gestures, the slightest hint of a smile, or a gentle turn of the head.

Isabelle Huppert(Here's a picture from a couple years back, from the César Awards, I think.)

The film is directed by Benoît Jacquot, whom I had the chance to see at the Toronto Film Festival in '97. It has a very cool and pale look to it, a story told in the shade of a cafe. But wherever Dominique is, there is somehow a few more foot candles to light her, and that's just fine.

Kudos also to Vincent Lindon who does a turn as Chris, a past amour of Quentin's. He plays it light and very close to the surface.

Watching this film made me want to be in France, living in a fabulous apartment, taking long walks, always in the hope of caching a glimpse, par hazard --

Related Sites

The School Of Flesh