Saturday, March 16, 2013


Loulou; erotic drama, France, 1980; D: Maurice Pialat, S: Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Guy Marchand, Humbert Balsan

Nelly is annoyed by her rich, but jealous and overtly aggressive husband Andre. In a disco, she meets the unemployed vagabond Louis, nicknamed Loulou, and spends the night with him. The next day, Andrew wants to throw Nelly from their apartment, but they make up eventually. Still, Nelly again goes back to Loulou. Andre tries to win her back, but she fell for Loulou's raw, macho charm. When she gets pregnant, her brother points out how Loulou does not want to have a job and that she will have to take care of everything by herself. During a diner with Loulou's mother, some of his friends start a heated argument. Realizing how she does not belong to this company, Nelly has an abortion.

Nominated for the Golden Palm in Cannes, Maurice Pialat's restless, unflinching love-triangle drama "Loulou" is actually just a front for an honest, unpretentious exploration of class difference: the heroine Nelly leaves her upper class husband Andre because she is attracted to the "forbidden" lower class title hero, an unemployed,  wild example of "lumpenproleteriat" who is irresponsible and crude, but his honest nature somehow reveals that he is much more real. Pialat has a very loose structure, with scenes that sometimes seem almost as if he just threw them there spontaneously, which does take a slight toll on the narrative, yet despite a multi-layered approach of the love triangle, the director does not shy away from showing a few direct sex scenes, or sometimes very blunt sexual behavior. He also conjures up humor when you least expected it: for instance, Loulou and Nelly have sex, when all of a sudden they are "interrupted" when their bed breaks, so they burst into laughter, even after a neighbor shouts and complains about their loud noises. In another, Loulou is walking with his mother through the market. The mother compliments him how he manages to find girls so easy and he just shrugs: "That's life". The mother then goes on to say: "It never worked for me. Each time I tried it, I ended up becoming pregnant", while the confused Loulou just stares in sudden realization. The most was achieved from the actors, especially Isabelle Huppert and Gerared Depardieu in an untypical role of a slob, which all contribute to an ambitious, though slightly incomplete drama.


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