Manuel Blanc stars as Pierre Lacaze, a sensitive French provincial young lad who leaves his stifling family to start a new life in Paris, hoping to become an actor. But instead he finds homelessness, poverty and despair, and quickly gives up his dream of acting and takes to prostitution.
First Pierre takes a job in a hospital, then he falls in love with an older woman, Evelyne (Hélène Vincent), and graduates to the life of a hustler. He meets an elderly gay man named Romain (Philippe Noiret), who offers only help, which he rejects, and a pretty female prostitute called Ingrid (Emmanuelle Béart), who seems to offer nothing very much except a beating-up by her pimp.
Writer-director André Téchiné’s 1991 road-to-ruin drama is obvious, relentlessly downbeat and old-fashioned but is greatly enlivened by the flavour of the Paris sub-culture and the performances, especially young Blanc’s and Noiret as the gay TV star who befriends him.
However, Téchiné’s film is often unsubtle and overwrought and the script finds itself stumbling along the path towards some hope, truth and maturity. The acting is very variable, and people as good as Noiret, Béart, Vincent, Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Christophe Bernard and Ivan Desny find themselves having to create a performance out of caricatures.
But the hero Pierre has a roundly-written role that is complex, developing and satisfyingly unresolved. And the 23-year-old Blanc grabs hold of the role and gives it a thoroughly good working over.
Actor and writer Jean-Christophe Bouvet was born on 24 March 1947 in Paris and is also known for La Machine (1977), Under Satan’s Sun (1987), Taxi 2 (2000), Notre Musique (2004), Marie Antoinette (2006), Taxi 3 (2003) and Taxi 4 (2007). His mother, Paulette Bouvet, plays Evelyne’s mother.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 3634
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