Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

How Much Do You Love Me? (2005) MFA, French (24 November 2007)

How Much Do You Love Me? (Combien tu m'aimes?, France, 2005, 95 min.)

I had low expectations for this -- though obviously I also had hope and interest or I wouldn't have gone.

I'm not sure how I feel about this movie.  It was actually often funny, but there was so much caricature that I was sometimes uncomfortable. 

Daniela, for example -- is she a nympho? unable to commit to monogamy?  The neighbor woman says no one makes noises during sex like that unless they're faking or a nympho, and then Daniela's quiet and tells Charly that Andre had given her her modesty back.  When she went back to the bar after 8 days she tells the guy that she had tried to become a good person but that she's the kind of girl who needs a bar, that she gets bored at home all day (which ignores the obvious question of what the heck she does at the bar all day, since I don't imagine a lot of people pick up hookers on their lunch hour or anything).  She tells Andre at one point that she's in it for the pleasure rather than the money, and I believed her at the time (and it certainly helps to explain why she would abandon Andre despite the fact that she's got this cushy contract with him) but stuff later in the film makes me less sure.

And Andre telling her he had never won the lottery!  That scene felt very real, but was very creepy.  His talk about having won her as he's touching her, and it came across as this very creepy possessive thing to me, made extra creepy by the fact that early in the film he seems so tender and unsure of himself and sincere.  It also dims his refusal to give Charly 4million euros for Daniela's freedom -- it wasn't any sort of moral or philosophical or anything choice... he really wasn't lying when he told Charly he didn't have much he could pay him for Daniela's freedom.

The film notes the MFA handed out beforehand (and which I read after seeing the film) cribs from FilmReference.com:
Bertrand Blier directs erotic buddy movies featuring men who are exasperated by the opposite sex, who perceive of themselves as macho but are incapable of satisfying the women in their lives. In actuality, his heroes are terrified of feminism, of the "new woman" who demands her right to experience and enjoy orgasm. But Blier's females are in no way villainesses. They are just elusive—and so alienated that they can only find fulfillment from oddballs or young boys.

In Blier's films, men do not understand women. "Maybe one day I'll do CAMILLE," the filmmaker says. "But I won't do AN UNMARRIED WOMAN, because I don't feel I have the right to do it. I don't know what goes on in a woman's head. I believe I know what certain men think, but not women." As a result, the sexual barriers between the sexes seem irrevocable in Blier's movies. His men are more at ease talking among themselves about women than with actually being with wives or lovers; their relationships with each other are for them more meaningful than their contacts with the opposite sex. Bertrand Blier best explains what he attempts to communicate in his films: "The relations between men and women are constantly evolving and it's interesting to show people leading the lifestyle of tomorrow."
This frustrates me.  I don't like the idea of someone writing films with women in them as main characters and saying, "I don't really understand women at all."  You shouldn't be writing characters if you don't understand them.

Less substantive note: Daniela says she's Italian, and IMDb tells me that the actress really is.  I totally kept seeing her as Asian, though, especially early in the film (and at one point she dresses in a geisha-esque costume, so I feel like it can't all be me hallucinating).
Tags: film: mfa, films: foreign: french, movies: watched

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