Parisian twentysomething Emilie Dequenne's affair with her wrestler boyfriend (Nicolas Duvauchelle) comes apart when she pretends to be the victim of an anti-Semitic assault. When the 'assault' makes international news, things become even murkier.
Based on a play that was itself inspired by a 2004 scandal, this insight into French politics and culture is less persuasive as a human drama. Director André Téchiné is keen to demonstrate that dysfunction is not the preserve of working-class families. But the travails of lawyer Michel Blanc and estranged son Mathieu Demy are never as compelling as the fallout from Parisian twentysomething Émilie Dequenne’s relationships with child-minder mother Catherine Deneuve and wrestler boyfriend Nicolas Duvauchelle and her curious decision to lie about an assault by a gang of anti-Semitic black and Arab youths.
A smart and incisive look at race, identity and dysfunction in modern French society.
Reviewed by David Parkinson