Private Property

A Complex, Twisted Tale of Family Dysfunction, with the Incomparable Isabelle Huppert

April 7th, 2011 by Wayward Muse
Rating: Genres: Featured Actors: Actors: Jérémie Renier, Kris Cuppens, Raphaelle Lubansu, Yannick Renier Directors: Joachim Lafosse Languages:
Private Property

This is a complex, twisted tale of family dysfunction that requires patience, attentiveness, and the ability and inclination to watch faces and bodies for clues to emotions and thoughts. It’s not a “talky” movie. The characters don’t tell us or each other much of what is actually going on with their thoughts and emotions. But it is painfully realistic—the essence of dysfunction is the breakdown of healthy communication, and in this film the viewer is dropped into a situation where they are in exactly the same situation as the family members—adrift in an uncharted sea without map or compass, trying to make do.

The animosities of a bitter divorce seem to drive the drama on one level, but the canker is really deeper than this—there is a total lack of boundaries between parents and children and both parents are guilty. The father tells nasty lies to the sons about their mother, undermining her authority and her very worth in their eyes—a rather common occurrence with immature parents in bitter divorces. But the mother lays all her victim-hood squarely in their laps—her emotions, her passivity, even her naked body at one point—she has no boundaries at all. The two sons react in ways that seem polar opposite—Francois becomes a kind of surrogate-spouse protector, while Thierry becomes a surrogate-abuser stand-in for the father. There are so many levels and such incredibly subtle detailing in this movie, but it is one that requires the full participation of the viewer to truly appreciate. If you’re not feeling fully up to engaging your observing and analyzing brain, wait on this little gem.

2 responses to “Private Property”

  1. Bunchie says:

    I really liked (it that’s the right word) this movie. Great atmosphere and moodiness….Issy and Jeremie were great. I need to see it again.

  2. Wayward Muse says:

    Yeah, It’s definitely one where “like” is a strange word to apply….but I loved the subtleties….

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