ANOTHER’S WOMEN’S LIFE/LA VIE D’UNE AUTRE
France, 2012, 97 minutes, Colour.
Juliette Binoche, Matthieu Kassovitz, Aure Atik, Vernon Dobtcheff, François Berleand.
Directed by Sylvie Testud.
Another Woman’s Life is a pleasant variation on the themes of time travelling. However, Marie (Juliette Binoche) moves from age 25 and the initial sexual encounter with Paul (Matthieu Kassovitz) to wake up at 41, 15 years of her life disappeared from her memory and consciousness.
The early part of the film establishes Marie at 25, her father having had a stroke, her mother’s exasperation, her own uncertainties and the possibility of getting a job with a neighbour, Dr Speransky (Vernon Dobtcheff). She is also attracted, at a beach outing, to the doctor’s son, Paul.
The rest of the film is looking at how Marie copes with the 21st century, all the changes that she does not understand including Internet, mobile phones, the death of Michael Jackson… But most of all it is discovering that she has a son and knows nothing about him, that her husband is cold towards her and, she finds out, that she has initiated divorce proceedings. And she herself is a top financial expert.
Couple she has while she has to accept the present, her attitude is still that of her 25-year-old self. She is shocked and wants to remedy the situation is that she has caused.
It is always a pleasure to see Juliette Binoche, and that is the case here. It is interesting to see Matthieu Kassovitz as her husband. He has established himself not only as an actor but as a significant French director.
The film doesn’t offer us solutions – leaving it for audience imagination and hopes?
The film was directed by actress Sylvie testud.
1. An interesting blend of realism and fantasy? Plausible? Possible?
2. The Paris settings, the contemporary city, the landmarks, apartments, schools, offices, a sense of realism, as well as the beauty of Paris? The musical score?
3. The title, the focus on Marie, a young life, caring for her father, reaction to her mother, her friends? Her visit to Doctor Speransky? Interactions with the family? Her birthday party, the family coming, wanting to go home except for Paul, his attraction to Marie, the night together?
4. Marie waking up the next morning, Paul disappeared, her look in the mirror, 15 years older? Finding Adam in the kitchen, talking with him, his reaction to her free of vocabulary? Her quick thinking in playing the game, asking all the questions and Adam and answering? Hurrying to school, late, the grim views of the principal?
5. Paul, his drawing comics, his father and the earlier looking down on this ambition? His succeeding? His studio, working hard, the publication, his assistant and his relationship with her? Marie going into his studio, his cold reaction, her puzzle? And her behaviour like an excited twentysomething?
6. The television, her discovering her reputation and achievement? The information about the divorce, the discussions with the lawyer, discovering that she had initiated the divorce? Her going to the board meetings, the documents, attentive to the comments? Her decisions? The member of the board and his gift for her birthday, the obvious liaison, her not understanding it, separating herself from him?
7. Meeting her father-in-law, the office in England, her successful ventures? The meetings, his calm attitude towards her moving out of the family?
8. Rita, her puzzlement, helping Marie, with keys, the wrong watch, the details of the domestic arrangements?
9. Hurrying to the school, the Nanny having picked up Adam, playing computer games with the Nanny, the Nanny preparing the meals?
10. Marie, with her attitudes from the past, her response to finding she had a son and not knowing him? Puzzled about Paul, yet flirting, her birthday, the meal? Her seductive manner and his response? Taking him on the boat? The meal? His ambiguous reactions?
11. The relationship with Jeanne, apologising to her, and yet his bewilderment about Marie?
12. Marie, going to the psychologist, her desperation about what was happening to her? The contrast between her younger self and her older self and what must have gone on in between?
13. Her realisation that she had started with enthusiasm, remembering this? Not knowing what had changed her, for the worse?
14. Her wanting to change in the present? The film ending – was it possible or help achieve ?