Catherine Deneuve delivers an award-winning performance as Marianne, the alcoholic wife of a famous diamond jeweler who must pick up the pieces of her broken life when her husband suddenly commits suicide.
Finally!! PLACE VENDOME is available on DVD: don't waste a moment thinking if you should own it, especially if you're a Catherine Deneuve devotee like me. She is without a doubt one of our greatest actresses, regardless of her nationality. This is one of Deneuve's strongest roles: after you've seen the film, you'll know of what I'm speaking. Deneuve plays the alcoholic wife of a prestigious but financially-troubled Parisian jeweler who spends much of her day in a drunken daze. Circumstances change her life drastically very early in the story, and alcoholism is just one of many problems she's soon facing in her life. I'm not going to give away any more plot details, because this is a very-richly drawn story of international intrigue set against the backdrop of the world diamond trade, and the players who can pay millions of dollars for the finest jewels. Many scenes were filmed on site in the Chaumet salons in Paris, giving the story a very authentic look. Though they changed the name of the jeweler's "house" for the film, Chaumet is given full credit in the end titles. I don't know if the director was allowed to use real diamonds on screen, but every detail looked quite glamourous and realistic. Of course, Deneuve herself looks extraordinarily sophisticated and oh so Parisian, even when she's fighting a hangover. The film's pacing is perfect like a flawless diamond: it starts with a somber tone, but before you know it, you're drawn into the maelstrom as Deneuve's character is literally running to save herself, and not just from those demons at the bottom of a vodka bottle. Superb acting, directing and writing make this an international thriller that will appeal to fans new and old of La Grande Deneuve! Sans doute, c'est magnifique!!! (10 stars out of 5)
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This is one of those French film that is really about the complexities of interaction between characters and their interactions with the story and milieu that surrounds them. The milieu here is the fine jewelry trade, about as elite and luxurious as you can get and, as a result, prone to intrigue and corruption. Caught in the vortex is Catherine Deneuve as the alcoholic wife of the head of the prestigious house of Malivert. Her husband and brother-in-law have gotten themselves involved in trading stolen jewels which could send them to jail and destroy their house. When Deneuve's husband commits suicide by driving himself into a logging truck, Deneuve has to sobber up a bit and contemplate a few precious diamonds that he spoke to her about the day before. Turns out that Deneuve's character has a past and it involves the original distributor of the stolen gems, a man who left her high and dry years before. The characters and setting make for a sumptuous tale punctuated with real romantic, nostalgic and regretful, longing, the obligatory chills of a thriller and fine acting. This is the perfect example of the kind of emotionally centered yet still genre formulaic film the French do so well. It's fun.
Catherine Deneuve gives one of her finest performances in this elegantly crafted film from director Nicole Garcia. It is beautifully shot in the diamond district of France, even the rain glistening on the sidewalks like fine jewels. This is a complex film of intrigue and personal demons in a world where people love each other a little and use each other a lot, cutting the heart like a diamond, in a swift, irreversible stroke.
Marianne (Catherine Deneuve) is the alcoholic wife of a respected jeweler who is only brought out on special occasions, spending most of her life in a rehab for the wealthy which is her primary home. She is forced to pull herself together when her husband Vincent Malivert kills himself, leaving behind a fortune in diamonds that have a questionable history. When she attempts to find a buyer for them she discovers the cache was stolen in its uncut form from the Russian Mafia. As the intrigue escalates, Marianne's own past in the world of diamond dealers is revealed, including the betrayel which blacklisted her as a jewel dealer and drove her to the bottle.
She will be forced to confront the demons in her past when her betrayer and his new protege come into the picture. Stunning beauty Emmanuelle Seigner has a pivotal role as the mirror image of Marianne 20 years before, unaware that history may be repeating itself. Marianne will have to choose between revenge and redemption to discover if love really does mean getting lied to and betrayed.
Deneuve, one of the world's finest actersses and greatest beauties, lets her hair down and imbues her character with a subtle vulnerability that won her Best Actress honors at the Venice Film Festival. Had the film been a little less foreign and a bit more flashy, she could easily have garnered an Oscar as well.
If you like foreign films, or Catherine Deneuve, or both, this is definitely one you'll want to add to your collection.
Much like the films of Andre Techine, Nicole Garcia has crafted a character driven film surrounded by plot, sub-plot, and counter plot. On the surface, it is a story about the intrigue of stolen diamonds. But this is no fast paced whodunit. It is a languid and moody study of betrayal, obsession, dissolution, and finally of redemption. It is also a mirror set between the two women in the film blending one's past with the other's future. Unlike what is ususal, this scenario provides a means to learn from another's mistakes, no matter how unwillingly. Mlle. Deneuve us splendidly cast and a joy to watch as she struggles to recover from decades of self-loathing and self-pity and the descent into alcoholism and despair. If our American film industry would stop discarding actresses at forty as though they were athletes not longer able to compete, we might have some few with the range and depth of a Catherine Deneuve to benefit from. These things take time and experience but Hollywood rushes ever onward to the next flavor of the month. This film illustrates nicely that the demons from our past are often only paper tigers at their worst, it's ourselves we need to conquer. If you're a fan of chase scenes, special effects, and vulgarity, you will want to stay well clear of this. If you prefer to appreciate nuance, subtlety, and to look beneath the surface, this film can approach the near perfection of it's jewels.
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