La Fidélité

Dir. Andrzej Zulawski, 2000
Inspired after listening to the audio commentary on the Possession DVD, I felt the urge to watch Zulawski’s most recent film, which has been sitting on my shelf since I bought it in Taiwan last year (and still not available in the States). Of course, I didn’t expect it to match the bugout weirdness of Possession, but it had something going on, one being a discussion about tabloid culture and capitalism. The plot has Sophie Marceau (a respected young photographer) marrying an upper-class man she respects more than loves, and fighting off the urge to sleep with a much younger working-class paparazzi photographer. The two central words of the film are “Fidélité” (of course) and “Verité”, both of which are explored in the personal and in the realms of commerce, and how the latter undermines the former. Marceau’s character’s life is intruded upon numerous times, her most private moments made public, but she too is guilty of this, working for the same tabloid press as the young photographer (and for the Murdoch-like goon that may or may not be her true father). How media, and the mediaization of our personal lives, destroys us is one thing the film explores; how to escape is another matter. The film is apparently based on a novel by Madam de la Fayette, but I didn’t know this going in. Zulawski also uses a lot of quotes from Auden throughout, and a brief glimpse of the John B. Root film “Principe de plaisir” on a TV. It bears watching again, as it was complex in its characters and plotting–a second viewing would reveal more of its structure, I believe.

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