Winner of two awards for director Phiippe Claudel at the Berlin Film Festiva, I’ve Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) opens tomorrow in limited US release. Most of the buzz is for Kristen Scott Thomas to possibly occupy this year’s Away From Her slot for a Best Actress nomination.
FilmStew: Thomas completely embraces the sublimation of her natural beauty.She has not a stitch of make-up on for most of the film, and working closely with Claudel, every part of her character‚Äôs being reflects the drabness of her incarcerated identity: stringy hair, washed out complexion and a joyless smoking habit. Each furtive eye movement and each halting answer adds up to the symphony of a lost soul, albeit one who has somehow managed to avoid complete self-destruction.
Poster and more review excerpts after the cut.
Dueling reviews from the New York Observer say much the same thing with equal eloquence.
Andrew Sarris: For a first film, Mr. Claudel‚Äôs I‚Äôve Loved You So Long is an unusually mature piece of work with none of the usual indulgences of the novice director. He has made a grown-up film for our troubled time, and created a beautiful rapport between two gifted actresses.
Rex Reed:This is an amazing film for a directorial debut, but Mr. Claudel eschews sentimentality with what practically amounts to quiet heroism. Like most French films, it takes its time developing character and building mood and atmosphere. But unlike most French films, it doesn‚Äôt meander aimlessly. Every character has complex shadings.