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Private Fears in Public Places

3.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Set inside a magically snowbound Paris, six lonely souls converge and commingle in their search for lasting connections. A warm-hearted story about six characters longing for love in wintry Paris, PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES interweaves multiple stories into a beautifully realized and deeply affecting whole.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Pierre Arditi, Sabine Azma, Isabelle Carr, Andr Dussollier, Laura Morante
  • Directors: Alain Resnais
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: August 7, 2007
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Q7ZL4M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,456 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Schweizer VINE VOICE on August 11, 2007
Format: DVD
Resnais has a taste for British drama. One of his best films, "Providence," was filmed in English with a superb cast, including John Guilgud, Dirk Bogarde, and others. His most recent is taken from a stage play by Sir Alan Ayckbourn, England's most prolific, if not best, playwright. This bittersweet concoction came to New York in one of the best productions to appear off-Broadway in years. Filmed in French, it continues to tear at the viewer's flail, tattered soul, as it exposes the loneliness of urban life in brutally exacting scenes. Shown in different settings scattered throughout the great metropolis of Paris, a disparate collection of lost souls wander through their lives and the lives of others as though lost. Each wants, as it were, to go home, but can't find his or her way. Resnais films each scene in winter, with snow visible through office and apartment windows; the wintry setting underscores the cold, hard realty of life without love or warmth or comfort. The cast is uniformly fine. The direction, as one would expect, is perfect. If you like sitting in the snow, you'll love this. Bring a scarf.
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The Paris of Alain Resnais' "Private Fears in Public Places" ("Coeurs" <"Hearts"> in France) is a cold, heartless place. A place in which people attempt to meet, talk at rather than with each other and try their best to make a real connection but that is not to be as the vagaries of life invariably get in their way.
All of the characters are of middle age: 40-60 years of age. These are people who have achieved a certain amount of success but whose personal lives are as messy as any 20 year olds.
The décor of "PFPP" plays a major role here: all hard, shiny surfaces, bright, fake colors that do not exist in nature...all of these things contribute to the erzatz 1970's feel of Resnais mise en scene: there is no doubt that the sets are indeed sets as Resnais makes no claim to reality here even going to extreme lengths to open up the 3rd wall and film from above.
Laura Morante, eye-poppingly beautiful as Nicole: frustrated with her fiancé, Dan (Lambert Wilson, recently separated from the Army and at odds and ends with what he is going to do for the rest of his life) are the most interesting of all the couples and quasi-couples. Nicole and Dan circle each other only fitfully making anything resembling contact. They dispassionately argue, they fake romance: they are empty vessels and seem happy to remain as such.
"Private Fears in Public Places" is bright and shiny though at times it gets dark particularly when the incessant snowfall gets denser. Resnais is after obfuscation here. He seeks to muddy what we want made clear. His people are symbols, not real, thoughtful human beings: they seek succor and immediate pleasure and enlightenment. What they get is God's hand squashing them like bugs.
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Very Intricate and complex film with a lot of twists and turns in it. Music score was MAGNIFICENT!!! I loved the character Charlotte. She was very complex and kept you guessing until the very end. The ending was very sad and left me with tear filled eyes. Sabine Azema and Isabelle Carre were incredibly HOT!!! Great film for someone just learning french. There are a lot of nuances in the film that require a second viewing in order to catch them. This is one of the BEST films in my collection!
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Format: DVD
A film about people lost in a personal loneliness and emptiness that they don't understand. The cold snow just keeps falling on them, with no prospect of warmth. The amazing thing is that they have retained their humanity. They are, in general, sensitive to each others' feelings . But, more importantly, they have not ceased to hope.

Wonderful performances all around, wonderful music!

(Check out Laura Morante's other films!)
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The acting, directing, and photography in this film are above average. The problem is the script, perhaps the worst play Alan Aycbourn ever wrote. It's about urban despair, Christian hypocrisy, and emptiness all around. "Sobbing in the snow" rather sums it up. The movie was designed, and renamed, I wager, for the university types who haunt art film theaters. One can hear them joyfully expounding at the inevitable cocktail party afterward on the depth of this and that character. In fact, the five characters in this film are superficial in the extreme, neurotic, and wholly uninteresting. The movie's crude ending ("fin" in a television set turned off) and the ludicrous camera shots from ceilings, are the most memorable moments in this dreary, uninspired soap opera.
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I got the impression from the picture on the jacket that this was going to be a 'light-hearted romantic comedy' but actually it is a very sad, exploration of loneliness and in the end very touching and done with great kindness and sensitivity. When you do laugh it is so subtle and heartfelt that it surprises you. One laugh like that is worth a thousand of the regular kind. I was especially moved by the two older gentlemen, the real estate agent and the bartender. The bartender is a rather tragic figure who appears to be very cynical at first glance but in a very subtle and understated way reveals a great heart. The real estate agent is the only funny one in the movie, but he too does this in such an understated way that it appears to be even more marvelous. You know sometimes actors knock themselves out to appear lovable or funny. They should take a good look at these people. It would probably go over their heads anyway but I found it strangely awesome. I gave the film only 4 stars because I thought the film itself wasn't up to that high level. Maybe 4 and a half for these lovely performances.
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