Actresses is a meek approximation of a Jacques Rivette film. Marcelline (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) is to star in a production of Turgenev’s A Month in the Country as Natalia Petrovna, a part that doesn’t so much consume her as it splits out of her body. On stage, she can’t decide which hand she should use to open a door, to the annoyance of her director, Denis (Mathieu Amalric), who makes love to her in spite of the fact that he likes to bone guys. Off stage, she bemoans the state of her biological clock, which she subjects to excessive amounts of chlorine at Le YMCA. Enter other-worldly beings: First the ghost of a dead boyfriend, who hangs from a tree outside Marcelline’s window, then the character of Natalia, who goes chasing after Marcelline’s co-star, Éric (Louis Garrell), in the middle of someone’s performance of “I Will Survive” (don’t ask). Bruni-Tedeschi relishes in the ontology of the self, collaging her character’s frustrations as a woman and artist. This is the same delicious recipe for Rivette’s Céline and Julie Go Boating, but Actresses’ batter of lunatic snippets from the lives of Marcelline and Denis’s assistant, Nathalie (Noémie Lvovsky), fails to congeal into a heady structural puzzle, or into a particularly affecting exercise in female empathy. Though lighter on her feet than Rivette, Bruni-Tedeschi does not recognize the abstract in the real, and so this irritating doodle is ultimately best enjoyed as another example of the woman’s uncanny ability to volley between states of bliss and misery on the turn of a dime.
- IFC First Take
- 107 min
- Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
- Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Noémie Lvovsky, Agnès De Sacy
- Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Noémie Lvovsky, Mathieu Amalric, Louis Garrel, Marisa Borini, Valeria Golino, Maurice Garrel, Simona Marchini, Bernard Nissille, Olivier Rabourdin, Laetitia Spigarelli
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