THE TITLE TELLS YOU all you need to know about the plot of this 1998 French import. Jean-Baptiste, a charismatic old artist, has died. The funeral is in the industrial city of Limoges, forcing a motley crew of his lovers, family, friends, and admirers to journey by train from fashionable Paris to the equivalent of Akron.
Overwrought French mourners.
THOSE WHO LOVE ME CAN TAKE THE TRAIN
directed by Patrice Ch鲥au
runs March 3-9 at Grand Illusion
The simple premise offers many possibilities, ranging from farce to elegiac reflection, but writer-director Patrice Ch鲥au (Queen Margot) has chosen an edgy approach that recalls films made under the Dogma 95 banner. Like Thomas Vinterberg's The Celebration and Harmony Korine's Julien Donkey-Boy, Those Who Love Me shares a predilection for hand-held camera work, a pared-down aesthetic, and dysfunctional characters.
Most of the large cast's individual performances get lost in the shuffle, but a few stand out. Jean-Louis Trintignant, grand homme of international cinema (A Man and a Woman), gives Jean-Baptiste's twin brother an unsettling ambiguity. Vincent P鲥z (The Crow: City of Angels) is something of a Gallic Brad Pitt, so his role as a transvestite is meant to have a jolt that is lost on American audiences. Even so, the delicate 鬡n he gives Viviane/ Frederic is a welcome soft touch in a lengthy film of operatic emotions and overly ambitious pretensions.