Looking for Cheyenne

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Regent Releasing

Politics, romance and the breaking of the fourth wall blend uneasily in this stylized French film about the troubled relationship between two young women.

While "Looking for Cheyenne" offers a sophisticated exploration of how economics can affect interpersonal relationships, it feels overstuffed with effort to touch on too many themes.

The titular character (Mila Dekker) is an unemployed journalist increasingly frustrated by her inability to find work after having lost her job months earlier. This causes a rift with her girlfriend Sonia (Aurelia Petit), a popular high school science teacher, especially after Cheyenne decides that her only recourse is to drop out of "the system." Forgoing government aid, she lives off the grid, lacking electricity or running water and foraging for food.

Less willing to drop out, the lovelorn Sonia subsequently tests the waters with several potential new partners, including Pierre (Malik Zidi), a smitten, would-be anarchist who professes not to mind that she's really not that into men.

The complicated emotional entanglements among these and several other figures are played out in often surreal form, with the characters frequently delivering direct addresses to the camera as well as numerous fantasy and dream sequences.

Director Valerie Minetto, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Cecile Vargaftig, clearly has some interesting things to say, and handles the film's many stylized aspects with impressive technical assurance. She also has an excellent way with her actors, eliciting greatly appealing performances not only from the sexy female leads but from the supporting players as well. But the relentless talkiness proves wearisome. One ultimately wishes that the characters would engage in less intellectual debate and more amour.

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