The 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
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.
(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
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 --
School Of Flesh