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Directed by acclaimed French director André Téchiné (WILD REEDS, CHANGING TIMES, STRAYED) and starring Emmanuelle Béart (8 WOMEN, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, STRAYED), Michel Blanc (M. HIRE), Sami Bouajila (DAYS OF GLORY), Julie Depardieu ( A SECRET, BLAME IT ON FIDEL, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT), Johan Libéreau, Constance Dollé.
Top Customer Reviews
Still, as one reviewer points out, there is a cold-blooded perspective that would appear to be uniquely French that made me somewhat uncomfortable with the interactions of the film's characters. For people who are supposed to care for each other to the point of obsession, there is precious little affection on offer. This starts with the female lead's complete lack of interest in her new enfant. This same character (a writer) eventually sees opportunity in a tragedy that affects her family and friends. With an American cultural background, it's hard to accept this kind of hard-hearted "moving on."
As for the gay/bisexual characters who are often at the center of the film, they are sympathetic at times, but ruthless and seemingly uncaring at others. Another reflection of the times? Maybe, but I couldn't say it's very close to what I remember of the period in the U.S.
In any event, it's an interesting film with a distinct point of view and serves as a reminder of the ongoing tragedy of AIDS and the huge loss of young lives since the disease first appeared nearly 30 years ago.
"The Witnesses" is a provocative and moving French drama set in the early days of the AIDS epidemic.
It's 1983, and a young gay man by the name of Manu (Johan Libereau) has come to Paris, where his sister, Julie (Julie Depardieu), an aspiring opera singer, lives in a hotel known to be a hotbed of prostitutes. Almost immediately, Manu enters into a platonic relationship with Adrien (Michel Blanc), a middle-aged doctor who falls in love with Manu despite the fact that the young man sees Adrien as just a friend. Adrien introduces Manu to a longtime friend, Sarah (Emmanuelle Beart), a writer of children's books, and Mehdi (Sami Bouajila), her husband who works as a vice cop in the city. Eventually, Manu taps into Mehdi's latent attraction to men and the two strike up a tentative, secret relationship. But before long a mysterious and deadly disease has arrived on the scene, changing the lives of these characters - and of countless others in the world - in ways they could never possibly have imagined.
Even though "The Witnesses" deals with a very grim and serious subject, its primary focus always rests on the characters and the complex relationships that define them. Written by Andre Techine, Laurent Guyot and Viviane Zingg and directed by Techine, "The Witnesses" draws us into the lives of these people precisely because it refuses to make an undue fuss over them and how they choose to live their lives. In fact, much of the narrative feels spontaneous and unformed, almost as if the writers were making it up as they go along. The result is that the incidents don't feel contrived or forced, and we are never tempted to question their credibility.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A young gay man takes up in a nonsexual friendship with an older gay man, then joins his small circle of friends. Before long, lines are being crossed and terror strikes. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Lost in Vegas
What an odd and awkward film. I didn't particularly enjoy this one, had to watch it for a French class.Published 22 months ago by Katie
Awesome director, great social issue, touching, overall a GREAT movie worth checking out. Thats all Im going to say so check it out for yourself !Published on October 25, 2011 by ??
Andre Techine is a consecrated French director who has bestowed us majuscule masterworks. The main focus in his films turns around the complexities of the human soul, acting and... Read morePublished on May 19, 2009 by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
I'm an André Téchiné fan, but this movie is disappointing. The only characters who are at all interesting are the two primary characters: Adrien (Michel... Read morePublished on March 7, 2009 by J. Martin
Perfection. Awesome. Sexy. Surprising. Heartbreaking. Revelatory. Witty. Cherishable. Astonishing. Revealing. True. Brutal. Funny. Sexy. Sad. True. Sexy. Sad. True. Perfection.Published on August 5, 2008 by Tom O'Leary
This is the story of what happened to a few lives in France when AIDS was first diagnosed and the world struggled to understand this new mystery illness that was so... Read morePublished on July 28, 2008 by R. Crane