France, 2009, 100 minutes, Colour.
Romain Duris, Charlotte Gainsburg, Jean- Hugues Anglade, Hiam Abbass, Giles Cohen.
Directed by Patrice Chereau.
A strongly dialogue-driven drama. Much of it could be simply listened to like radio or a talking book with visuals imagined. It is about intensity of relationships – where one person is besotted with another but the infatuation or love is not reciprocated, at least not in the way the besotted lover wants.
Romain Duris plays Daniel, a thirty-something in Paris who is both a loner and someone compelled to help others. He is also conscientiouos about jobs and volunteer work at a home for the elderly.
Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Sonia, Daniel's girlfriend, who is always away on business. Daniel loves her but she cannot full accept this love or live with him.
Jean- Hugues Anglade plays Bruno whose attitude towards Daniel is like Daniel's for Sonia. But, as Sonia, finds it difficult to respond to Daniel's love, Daniel finds it impossible to respond to Bruno except violently – until he finds enough empathy to to Bruno his life story.
Persecution appeals to a younger niche audience (oldies have gone through this and may well be impatient with the characters). It could be seen as a companion piece to Chereau's 2000 Intimacy which was, like Persecution, co-written by Anne- Louise Trividic.
1.An intimate drama, the focus on three characters? Effective? Dialogue, drama?
2.The title? Bruno and his persecuting Daniel? Daniel and his attitude towards Sonia? The different persecutions?
3.The Paris settings, the streets, the building sites, apartments, restaurants? Authentic and realistic feel? The musical score?
4.The emphasis on dialogue, as filmed radio? The drama of the faces and expressions with the dialogue?
5.The introduction to Daniel, his age, working? More background, his dead mother, his father, his father going to the institution and staying there? His visiting him? His father’s explanation of going to pray two hours each day? The effect on Daniel, his not seeing his father again? The consequences and his going to the home, looking after the elderly, discussions with the old man, helping the elderly ladies? His motivation?
6.Conscientious, the building sites, the jobs, his hard work? The other workers? The friendship with Michel, Michel and his self-anguishing, breakdown? Family, separation, the younger woman, the child, the effect on him? His continually visiting Daniel, at the club, at the building site? Daniel’s reaction to him?
7.Bruno, his arrival, naked on the bed, his persecuting Daniel? His background, homosexual attraction? His continually getting into the house, Daniel and his rages? Kicking Bruno out, literally kicking him in the street? Bruno finally able to express himself, listening to Daniel’s life story?
8.Sonia, her work, continually away from Paris? As Daniel’s girlfriend? Her not wanting intimacy, not wanting isolation? Going to the clubs? The visits to Daniel, their love? Yet her continually going away? The visiting of the apartment? Daniel and his edge, criticisms of her, suspicions? Her phone call from Philadelphia? The final declaration of love – and the fact that they could not be together? Daniel and his obsession? Sonia and her detachment?
9.The visits to the clubs, crowded, the friends, Thomas and his friendship with Daniel, his meeting Sonia? Marie, the friendship with Sonia, the outings? The group, the bonds between them, people in their thirties?
10.The effect of these experiences on Daniel, his inability to cope, his need for relationships? At the end – left stranded? The future for Sonia, the future for Bruno, for Michel? The future for Daniel?