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Pascale (Isabelle Huppert) lives with her adult twin sons, aimless François (Yannick Renier) and headstrong Thierry (Jérémie Renier, star of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's L'ENFANT and LA PROMESSE), in a renovated Belgian farmhouse. Each is still reeling from the divorce that divided the family some years earlier. Both boys pursue their respective interests, but neither seems compelled to embrace adulthood or the responsibilities that come with it. However, all that is about to change. Pascale has fallen in love again and dreams of a new life for herself and her lover a countryside B&B that they aspire to own together. But what would seem to be a happy time in her life takes a turn for the worse as she finds herself unable to rise from the shadow of her ex-husband and selfish children. In a bid for survival, Pascale leaves the house in the hands of Thierry and François, never suspecting that in her absence, long-buried resentment and rivalry will boil over, igniting a war between the brothers.
DVD Details: Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 2006, 89 minutes, Color, Region 1, NTSC, Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 or 5.1 Surround Sound; In French with English subtitles; Special Features: Theatrical trailer; Enhanced for 16x9 TVs; Scene Selections; Liner Notes: Production notes and Interview with the director.
Disturbingly vivid. -----Jay Weissberg, VARIETY
4 stars! -----John Anderson, NEWSDAY
Top Customer Reviews
Pascale (a blowsy, de-glamorized Isabelle Huppert) lives with her two sons, Thierry (a mean, feral Jeremie Renier) and Francois (the opposite of Thierry yet in real life the brother of Jeremie, Yannick Renier) in a country home filled with memories of a brutal divorce, the events leading up to the divorce and the detritus of hate, longing and betrayal that a bitter divorce leaves in it's wake. You know the scenario: the sons basically blame Pascale for the divorce and she blames her ex.
Pascale also feels strangled about her lot in life: her boys, really men roughly 23 or so treat her like a maid, mostly spend their days shooting rats on the river bank and only briefly look for work. The house is a heady cauldron of stew boiling over from all the deceit, yearning, sexual impropriety and parental wantonness. In many ways we could be in 1919 New England and watching Eugene O'Neill's "Desire Under the Elms," what with all the heady, musty, suppressed sexuality on view here.
Director Joachim LaFosse has an excellent eye and the film is shot in the muted colors of a Renoir painting which proves to be an alluring counterpoint to the less than glamorous goings on in Chez Pascale.
Isabelle Huppert plays Pascale from the inside: on the one hand concerned, loving, maternal and on the other searching for ways to rid herself of her burdens and escape with her lover.Read more ›
We choose many of our confinements.
Modern men and women have amazingly broad discretion to choose how we confine ourselves.
We choose the conditions under which we live.
The film starts off with a brief phrase, written in white against the black screen:
"A nos limites."
Translated: "To our boundaries."
The first scene is of a middle aged mother looking in the mirror at her shape in a new camisole. She is assessing if she is still visually attractive. We don't know it yet, but she is also asking herself if she should attempt a new path into a new relationship.
She is a single mother raising her two sons, who are now both young adults, but still live in the house they grew up in. Their father, who lost the house in the divorce settlement, and who always hoped the house would go to the boys, still lives in the same city and stops by occasionally to give the boys money.
Neither son pursues work, and both depend completely on their parents for financial support.
As the plot progresses, the conflicts of interest increase between the sons, who wish to stay and live an easy life in their parents' home, and their mother who would like to sell the home and go off to start a new life running a bed & breakfast.
Eventually, the mother receives more abuse from her sons than she can bear, so she leaves them in the house alone to live with each other.
The movie explores this question: What environments do your actions create for the people who live with you and depend on you?
I titled this review after O'Neill's famous play because of the movie's candid scenes of brutal verbal family fights.Read more ›
The French film, "Private Property," sets up a fierce battle of wills between a divorced mother and the two ne'er-do-well sons (fraternal twins) who still live with her. Pascale wants to sell the house and open up a bed-and-breakfast with her new boyfriend, but the young men, fearing the loss of the property that they believe should rightly go to them, attempt to block any efforts in that direction.
With intelligent direction by Joachim Lafosse and incisive writing by Lafosse and Francois Pirot, this low-keyed family drama explores the complexities inherent in filial, sibling and marital relationships. The confrontation scenes, many of which take place during meal times (come to think of it, I don't believe I've seen this much eating in a film since "Babette`s Feast"), are sharply drawn and effectively staged. The acting is excellent across the board, particularly that of Isabelle Huppert, as the middle-aged woman determined to finally start living for herself, and Jeremy Renier, as the more belligerent and self-centered of her two sons. Yannick Renier, Jeremy's brother in real life, is also very good as the more passive of the twins.
Some viewers may feel let down and frustrated by the inconclusive ending, but I enjoyed the ambiguity of it. We are made privy to just one brief episode in the lives of these people - then it's time for us all to move on.
The story focuses on Pascale, divorced mother of twin boys, both at home, often calling the shots. Pascale and her sons argue often and the two boys are in physical fights. In this film, the twins are played by real-life brothers, Yannick and Jeremie Renier. Similar to many divorces, the mother bashes the father to the boys. Their father shows up periodically giving them money, and providing at least some tenderness. The boys have no respect for their mother, throwing f-bombs in front of her, calling her a bitch, mocking her sexual relationships, or even her decision making. One of the boys is more aggressive and domineering while the other is more passive with his mother.
When Pascale decides to sell the house and start a bed and breakfast she gets grief from her sons, as they believe the house was given to them by their father. Selling the home would create need for resolutions.
The setting is the home in Belgium, where one gets the feeling this family is trapped, unable to make choices, to move on, to open up to the future. Often the scenes are tight and close, adding to a feeling of confinement and entrapment.
You will notice quickly how often this family is at the table eating, so many scenes are with eating.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Private Property is an intense film. It explores relationships at their worst. There is a certain Bergman flavor to this film, mostly in the character development and the tight... Read morePublished on February 6, 2009 by Dan Lebryk
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