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The Captive Review

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Ariane and Simon live together in luxury. However, the perfect picture begins to spoil when Simon's obsessive ways begin to encroach on Ariane's privacy and his jealously has tragic consequences.

★★★★★

Ever since her 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, Chantal Akerman has been kicking against the presentation of women as fantasy figures in cinema. So here, she comes right out and attacks the oppressive nature of the male gaze by making the villain of this adaptation of Marcel Proust's short story, La Prisoniere, a cloying voyeur.

Akerman creates a cinema which demands you work at watching the minimalist goings on of her protagonists. However, the long takes and meticulous compositions serve only to distance us from events, thus making it hard to identify either with Simon (Merhar) or Ariane (Testud), the girlfriend whose every move is spied upon by her adoring chaperon, André (Bonamy). The investigation into passion is intriguing, but sadly, the solemnity suppresses the fascination.

The investigation into passion is intriguing, but sadly, the solemnity suppresses the fascination.