Starring Catherine Deneuve, who portrays the real life Renee LaRoux, a casino boss who is at odds with her daughter, Agnes (Adele Haenel). Agnes lived in Africa and was married for a few years but is recently divorced and has come back to Nice to recover and begin her life's new Chapter. Agnes is athletic and free spirited. When picked up at the airport by her mother's lawyer and personal assistant, Maurice Agnelet, she chooses to go to the ocean and swim in the off season.
The methodical Renee increasingly quarrels with her daughter over the fate of the casino and Agnes's rights to her inheritance from her father. Agnes is sophisticated and talented but does seem very emotional for what it would take to run a business, that's as large and demanding as a casino empire.
The problems increase when Agnes decides to become one of Maurice's many lovers. Renee warns her daughter he is only interested in her for her money and for sex but the elder's thoughts are angrily ignored. While his own business is failing he persuades Agnes to outvote her mother from the Casino. He becomes Agnes's world.
Agnes looses her dignity by following Maurice to school when he picks up his son and he treats her viciously. But she does not end it and after her suicide attempt he comes to her apartment to help. She is never seen again and all her inheritance goes into his bank account after her disappearance.
Renee devotes much of her life to finding justice for her lost daughter. She forgives all of Agnes's mistakes and betrayals for as to her mother Agnes is forever a little girl. Eventually thirty years later the case is re-opened and brought to trial.
By Sarah Bahl
Patricia Highsmith's work reveals the life of a 1950s vagabond. A Tom Ripley who lives in New York and has known high society circles but never belonged to them. Tom is gay and holds no bank account despite receiving checks from his job as an accountant. Perhaps this is because he doesn't want the police to know where he lives. Though he does cash checks from his aunt, who raised him and who he has always hated. He goes from job to job and from one situation to another until he is scouted out by a Mr. Greenleaf, a shipping industrialist, who wants Tom to go to Italy and convince his son, Dickie, to come back to America. Mrs. Greenleaf is ill with cancer and both parents want their son home immediately.
Tom knows right away that there is no particular reason for why Dickie would want to give up his house, girlfriend, maid and painting hobby in Mongibello Italy to come back to starched shirts and crammed traffic in New York. Tom knows Dickie from parties, and the details are vague as to how he came to these parties. But Tom is the only one of Dickie's aquaintances or friends who agrees to go as all the others considered doing so to be meddling in Dickie's life.
When he arrives, he scouts Dickie with his girlfriend, Marge, on the beach. Tom makes an awkward third wheel as Marge and Dickie get to know each other. But Tom does not care about this. He knows that he is not going back to a shiftless existence in New York. And so when he and Dickie go on a boating trip together only one of them comes back to shore. And the new Dickie Greenleaf is born.
By Sarah Bahl
The Painted Veil, (2006 Film) brings the holder into an intense and exotic series of scenes reflective of science and culture. Flowers bloom to fold and die. Microbes flash over turn of the 20th century Chinese as they bustle about their daily lives, as if to ask where does the science end and the soul begin? Are humans no more important than the microbes they are originally made of?
It is 1925 China. A cart pulls away leaving a British woman standing in an elegant summer hat and a light blue mid weather coat, staring at the mountain view, of a lush, tropical world composed of crop fields surrounded by wild mountain growth. Her husband has his back to her as he watches the cart plod on. In between them is a massive amount of luggage. This is Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Fane.
Chinese rock diggers gaze at them. Kitty looks about while splashing a puddle with her saddle shoe and remembers back to how she met her husband.
There is a lively party in London, at the home of Kitty, who dresses to make note of her dark hair, done in style and expressive blue eyes. She descends the stairs to stroll elegantly and gives a tense smile to her mother, who does not respond but turns her head quickly to mingle with the guests.
Kitty spies her father wearing a tux and reading a book in the library. Then she is greeted by Walter, who asks her to dance. "Why not?" she replies.
Later while in the drawing room the family asks who the young man she was dancing with was. She replies, "Which one?" It is brought about that he is a Doctor and civil servant who runs a medical research laboratory in Shanghai. And it is asked if he is in love with her. She says she does not know but that she is not in love with him.
Kitty is asked by her mother how long she expects her father to go on supporting her. In humiliation she leaves and is met by Walter with a box of chocolates at the front door. So, eventually she journeys to Shanghai and from there to rural China were there is a cholera epidemic. Cholera is a nasty disease, that can drain the body of all fluids quite quickly.
Kitty is brought into the epidemic by her husband, who insists she attend to him to "cheer and comfort," him. "No," she replies and says it is monstrous he should ask. He then blackmails her into going by saying if she doesn't, he will file for divorce based on adultery.
Kitty insists her lover, Charlie, really does love her and Walter has her bags packed while she makes a jackass out of herself by attempting to have Charlie marry her. And so the two traverse to a river town about a ten day journey from Shanghai.
While there, they really get to know each other. Walter succumbs to cholera, while Kitty is pregnant and by who she does not know. Walter had said that it did not matter and the saddest element is that the two simply did not have more time.
By Sarah Bahl
Takes you to a world that is told by someone who once really lived in it. The novel by Ruth Rendell, involves a crime of passion carried out during WWII by Woody, "a handsome man," who knew from the little work that he did in life, that he hated doing it and he carefully married for money as a career. After the boss's daughter from his third and last job at a cosmetics factory, fell in love with him, or at least was fond enough of him to marry, with her father's money, they moved to a suburb not far from London.
His first marriage to the pretty red-haired Anita did not work out so well, as he murdered her lover and then her. Not quite satisfied with the deaths he cut off their hands and placed them into a butter-biscuit tin. Anita had had her friends over quite often. Her friends were usually men in uniform. Woody walked in on her lover and her sitting at a table with her lover's hand over hers. This image imprinted itself in his mind and became an obsession.
No one in the world would have ever known about the lovers' sad hands, except a basement was being dug out of a newly built home and the tin was discovered by Polish workers, to make the news. And once this occurred, there came back memories from now elderly people who remembered decades and decades ago, taking their fish paste sandwiches during the war, to the tunnels of half finished houses where they liked to play after school. They remembered a man who angrily told them to leave the tunnels and never come back. And it is the girl next door, who remembers the most of all.
Begins, "Ugliness in a woman is a mortal sin. If you're beautiful, you turn heads for your beauty. If you're ugly you turn heads for your ugliness."
A middle aged woman runs through a semi-darkened wood. She holds a suitcase in her hand, drops it and continues to run toward an open field. This is Violette, the World War II black market entrepreneur.
The suitcase is opened and bloodied meats and sausages are pulled out of neatly wrapped, white cloths. She is led down an ancient hallway by blue uniformed men, then placed in a cell, the skeleton key is turned and it is locked.
An incredibly peeved Violette returns across a green, leafy field at dawn toward a small, country farmhouse and storms up the stairs but not before taking money out of her underwear to give to her landlord on her way up. When she gets to her room she loudly interrupts her roommate, Maurice and his writing. He does not look up at all, but while adding ink to his pen, says, "Where did you get to? I was worried sick."
She throws off her shoes across the room, then sits to take off her stockings. "Because of you, I spent three nights in prison," she laments angrily to him. It was his sausage contact apparently.
They continue to quibble. He reminds her that if it were not for him, she would be starving like so many left behind in Paris. Their domestic life is filled with argument as Violette does not care that Maurice is homosexual as much as he seems to. Their partnership was brought on in order to survive the war as both enjoy members of their own gender and posing as a small village married couple averts many risks.
The story is one that reminds me of how many people found themselves living in oddball circumstances during the time. Maurice leaves as Violette stomps her foot and cries, only to watch him dash for the bus along a country road. It is Maurice who inspired her to write, to put all her sex, anger and energies into words.
And so is born Violette LeDuc, the bestselling author, who helped break many barriers for women's sexuality along with the intellectual, Simone de Beauvoir. Both women wrote about sex directly in a manner that had never been published before.
Sadly, her friend is never repaid for his inspiration to her. But Violette carries on, through ups and downs that consist of breakdowns about money, loneliness and over all ill health. She writes about the coldness of her mother growing up. Her mother thanks her for her this sarcastically, saying that she is made out to be a monster. But her mother stays by her side the entire time.
Violette is an impassioned, imperfect and sometimes ridiculous character who it is a joy to know. "Mine is not an isolated case. I'm scared of dying and sorry for being in the world." But she lived her life, and put it all onto pages, thousands of pages, by hand.
By Sarah Bahl