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Villa Des Roses Review

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It’s the eve of World War I in a Paris boarding house When new maid and recent widow Louise arrives and begins a tentative affair with one of the guests — German artist, Richard

★★★★★

It’s the eve of World War I in Paris, and an odd international harmony exists in the dilapidated boarding house, Villa Des Roses. When new maid and recent widow Louise (Delpy) arrives, she begins a tentative affair with one of the guests — German artist, Richard (Dingwall).

Like Delicatessen written by an old European playwright like Pirandello, the first half of the movie trades on an eccentric, theatrical atmosphere, although certain mannered performances sit awkwardly beside more natural turns. But any merit evaporates at the halfway point when the film takes a damagingly abrupt turn towards grim tragedy and inescapable boredom.

This lost era’s carefree mood is mirrored the film’s aimless structure. Sadly, it also shows all the incohesion you’d expect from a Belgian-British-Luxembourgian-Dutch co-production and such a mixed cast and crew.