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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (2003)

Set in the Parisian high society of the early 1960s, a wealthy but ruthless woman (Catherine Deneuve) desires revenge on her ex-lover (Andrzej Zulawski) who is engaged to a much younger woman. To this end, she makes a bargain with another ex-lover (Rupert Everett) to seduce the virginal bride to be (Leelee Sobieski). He agrees but first he must make a conquest of the virtuous married woman (Nastassja Kinski) staying at his aunt's (Danielle Darrieux) villa. Based on the 1782 Pierre Choderlos de Laclos novel which has been adapted for the stage, screen and TV countless times including China and Korea and even a teen version CRUEL INTENTIONS (1999). Its tale of sexual power, depravity and amorality is almost irresistible in almost all its incarnations. At 4 1/2 hours, Josee Dayan's version done for French television takes a leisurely pace which allows for more detail, characterization and nuances. Sumptuously shot by Caroline Champetier with a nice underscore by Angelo Badalamenti and Jean Paul Gaultier doing Deneuve's costumes, it has the look of a major motion picture rather than a TV movie. The performances are solid all around with Deneuve and Everett perfectly cast. With Tedi Papavrami, Francoise Brion and Cyrille Thouvenin.

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