Excerpts from a conversation half/mis-remembered between two Reverse Shotters at the Toronto Film Festival:
Clarencecarter: I think Abel Ferrara's Mary and Chereau's Gabrielle were probably the best things I saw here.
Brotherfromanother: L'enfant for me. We didn't talk about the Chereau last night—you really liked it?
CC: Yeah, I feel like making one of these sort of stylistically hyper-modern period pieces was a really interesting step for him to take after Son frère, which I thought was fantastic. In a lot of ways the formal play in Gabrielle reminds of Desplechin.
BFA: But Desplechin is never quite that silly.
CC: You don't think so? I feel like he's pretty silly.
BFA: And I'm not sure if I really believe the central premise: that the upper middle class hurts too.
CC: But isn't that sort of endemic to the kind of Ibsen-esque examination he's undertaking? It didn't bother me so much, but you can't really knock Pascal Greggory and Isabelle Huppert's performances. Greggory is one of those actors I never really noticed until that creepy little movie Raja which I saw here a few years ago.
BFA: Sure they're terrific, but don't you get the sense that they never really become characters—that they're more puppets in this formal experiment Chereau's created?
CC: Exactly. That's one of the reasons I like it: it's an artificial, cold movie.
BFA: About hot passions.
CC: At least I think we can both agree that one of the real finds here has to be Jason Reitman's Thank You For Smoking.
BFA: Absolutely, long live sub-American Beauty middlebrow stabs at skewering the politically correct!
CC: Especially when made by the douchebag scion of a filmmaking family that should have been sterilized ages ago.
BFA: Could it be any other way?
(Brotherfromanother, feel free to correct the record.)