EmptyBerlin International Film Festival
PARIS -- The cinema of Robert Guediguian is associated with the sunny skies, blue waters and picturesque accents of Marseilles, where he has shot most of his films.
"Lady Jane" marks quite a sea change for the filmmaker, who has previously delved into such genres as melodrama ("Marie-Jo and Her 2 Lovers") and the biopic ("The Last Mitterrand"). Trying his hand at film noir, the director penned a remarkably dark revenge story. Theatrical prospects are solid since the genre is appreciated by audiences worldwide. The film opens April 9 in France and screened in Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival.
"Lady Jane" follows two men and a woman, Francois, Rene and Muriel, who used to rob banks in the 1980s. They chose not to remain in contact until the kidnapping of Muriel's teen son. They reunite to investigate the case and render their own justice.
Flashbacks reveal why the gang quit a life of crime and broke up. The past haunts the characters, adding new perspectives to the contemporary story. Until someone makes the right move, vengeance will destroy the lives of many. "Lady Jane" is a remarkable comment on the whole notion of revenge.
Guediguian has spotted places in Marseilles no filmmaker has ever filmed, such as Francois' boat repair workshop, in a creek far away from the Provence cliches of turquoise waters and heavenly bays. Most of the film takes place at night, or in gloomy exteriors. Guediguian doesn't avoid the representation of violence, including a surprising and shocking murder scene essential to the narration.
Still faithful to his troupe of actors (a most unusual tendency in contemporary cinema), Guediguian offers again his wife Ariane Ascaride and his longtime friends Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Gerard Meylan the three major parts. Darroussin is especially good as a discreet villain who tries hard to be a good father and husband but discovers he still harbors a violent streak. Often cast in comedies for his good-natured looks and natural humor, he proves again, after Cedric Kahn's "Red Lights" and his own "Premonition," that he is never so good as when he is unsettling.
Agat Films & Cie, France 3 Cinema
Director-producer: Robert Guediguian
Screenwriters: Robert Guediguian, Jean-Louis Milesi
Director of photography: Pierre Milon
Production designer: Michel Vandestien
Costume designers: Juliette Chanaud, Anne-Marie Giacalone
Editor: Bernard Sasia
Muriel: Ariane Ascaride
Francois: Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Rene: Gerard Meylan
Le jeune homme: Yann Tregouet
Charlotte: Frederique Bonnal
Solange: Pascale Roberts
Running time -- 102 minutes
No MPAA rating