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  • Pialat films people in extreme emotional situations, usually with several violent scenes. In La Gueule ouverte, he's dealing with the devastating effects on a woman's husband and son as she dies of cancer. In A nos amours, the teenage girl's sexual experimentation leads to violent confrontations with her family. Here we have a rather spoiled young woman who abandons her husband to take up with a sexy ex-con. Her motivation is a little cloudy, since Loulou is incapable of reading or discussing anything more challenging than TV shows; on the other hand, he's got a fabulous body (I wonder why Depardieu never made a sports movie to show off that physique--he would have been great as a rugby player).

    The casting is impressive. Isabelle Huppert gives a committed performance as Nelly; her middle class reserve plays well against Depardieu's loutish energy. Depardieu plays Loulou with all the dynamism and charm you could want--see the scene in the bar, where he's stabbed in the gut, runs away and seeks treatment, then soon restarts with Nelly. Guy Marchand, with those coal-black eyes and distressed look, plays Nelly's husband beautifully; it's a fine repeat of their pairing in Diane Kurys's Coup de foudre.
  • This is the pathetic story of a woman who leaves her well-off and educated husband for Loulou (Gerard Depardieu), an unemployed ex-con. The storyline doesn't deviate much from this premise outside of a few interesting anecdotes here and there, and the rest of the film is spent on depicting the interactions between the characters.

    So why does this simple film deserve eight stars? In my opinion, it's because Pialat has focused his attention on a single element that dominates all aspects of its development: realism. Characters depicted are paradoxical and confused, just as many people are when it comes to love and relationships. There is no soundtrack to distract the viewer. Perhaps most interesting of all is the way the film is written and acted; every line seems spontaneous, not scripted and polished. Because of this, the film really succeeds in the impression that you really are looking through a window into people's lives. It's all great cinema; the techniques used in this film really should be used more frequently.

    Make no mistake, though: this is an actor's film. All three of the leads are equally brilliant. We can feel the raw emotion when one of them make a sudden outburst, though we may not always understand their motivations. This movie certainly would not have been the same without them.

    I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys art-house cinema.
  • Given the exhaustive and thoughtful review by the previous poster, I won't be redundant. This movie contains one of the best lines I've ever heard: As Nelly rides away with LouLou on his motorcycle, Andre poutfully spouts (rough english) "But you can't discuss books with him!"; Nelly replies "I don't discuss books, I read them!".

  • petershelleyau10 November 2001
    Director Maurice Pialat's film is more an exercise in star power than any presentation of narrative, with Isabelle Huppert leaving her husband Guy Marchand for the leather-clad ex-con ruffian Loulou played by Depardieu. Even though the tone takes its cue from the character of Loulou as a womanising drifter, the low key seemingly improvised rambling scenes are preferable to the gab-fests of Eric Rohmer, who is responsible for the negative connotations associated with French films by Americans. This film is actually mistitled since although it is Depardieu that is the catalyst for Huppert to change her life, the story is more hers than his. Or perhaps it is that the representation of her crumbling marriage that is more dramatically interesting than Depardieu's "loafing". If Loulou's character is sketched thinly that may to keep him as an enigma, the mysterious bad-boy that women always seem to prefer. At one point Huppert says of Depardieu, "I prefer a loafer who f**ks, to a rich guy who bugs me". And although we can see how limiting Depardieu's world is to Huppert, we also understand her attraction to him, highlighted by a silent image of the couple stumbling down a street in a drunken embrace. Pialat's best moments involve scenes of violence interrupting - a family get together soured by jealousy, the loud music of a disco drowning out shouting, and a brawl between Depardieu and Marchand in a courtyard with a following drink together as evidence of the French form of civilised behaviour. Huppert also has an early scene with Marchand where the camera follows his pursuit and humiliation of her, and here Huppert's anger invalidates the myth of her as a passive performer. The film also shows us footage of her laughing, which is unusual since her situations are usually so glum, and she is funny when she yells in shocked reaction to being hit, in the famous love scene where the bed collapses, and when she falls in the street by accident. Pialat also gives Marchand a laugh by having him resort to playing the saxophone in depression.
  • Although Loulou is a film about the gradual disintegration of a marriage, it is important to note that nobody has been vilified for it. One might be surprised to learn how two men who have differences over their affections for a woman end up becoming good friends. One doesn't know how well staunch feminists have viewed "Loulou" but it can be said that it presents a very strong willed woman who is aware of her priorities in life. It is for her portrayal as strong willed Nelly that veteran French actress Isabelle Huppert was nominated for César award in the best actress category in 1981.Actor Guy Marchand was also nominated for best supporting actor César for his role as Nelly's husband André. French director Maurice Pialat had absolute control over creating strong characters for his films. This is the reason why his protagonists are believed to have the ability to bear any adversity with stoic calm. This sentiment is nicely echoed in one of his important films Loulou. It is considered to be a masterpiece in Pialat's little but highly productive filmography.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Pialat is certainly one of the most interesting artists of the last century's final quarter.Interesting by his integrity and coherence and healthy simplicity.There is a great intelligence in these straightforward movies,a taste for directness and for narrative 'elementarity.In this film as well he works on a small canvas.He will not flatter the ordinary people,as he never resorts to the standard optimist anthropology that works with the known conventions.Pialat's characters are full human beings-without idealization.This gives his movies a brutal power and also an unspoken and very concrete …;the violence, brutality, 'instinctuality and 'animality of ordinary people have always found in Pialat an observer of admirable competence.

    In a disco,a young woman,Nelly,dances with a guy,to the displeasure of André,the man that she came with.He slaps her.She spends her night with her acquaintance,Loulou,and she enjoys his erotic strength.

    She lives together with the plebes,as it were.The scene of the country party with the low people,Loulou's family,is well made.Nelly participates in a burglary,a plunder.These are the people that she becomes friends with.This is Nine ½ Weeks upside down!There is a need of adventure in Nelly.Like La Femme d'à 'côté,Loulou (1980) is a scene of manners.

    Maurice Pialat sees the sexuality and the copulation as the core,motor and aim of the common everyday human relations.This is the nucleus, the kernel of the human interactions,the sphere's center.If we look around, we see this is true.There is not any word about love or fulfillment;Maurice Pialat's anthropology is correct and transparent.

    The mechanisms are simple;they are real.

    In "Loulou" there is a stream of naturalness ,sincerity and energy that confer the movie its freshness and charm.While the story is dirty, sordid and banal,the movie is,as I just put it,charming in its own way,as a work of art,and amazing.The material of "Loulou" is extremely simple—a young woman that comes from a rich family and is not necessarily thin-skinned passes from a violent man to a rudimentary human being,the bum Loulou and finds a certain happiness with him,for a while.As always with Pialat,there is no trace of idealization.Pialat's objectivity is unmatched.He does not comment the facts shown on screen.At a certain moment in the movie,Loulou and Nelly are lying on a sofa,they laze watching TV. The ex-convict that lives with them sits on the sofa's end,at the couple's feet. Meantime, Loulou's hand is lazily caressing Nelly's tits.Pialat will never try to make physiology pass as poetry.

    In her youth,Mrs. Huppert had the body of a Nereid ,as light as thistle down, and a luminous and delicate flesh that looks extremely well on screen;Pialat knew to showcase these charms of Mrs. Huppert in "Loulou".It is a fine occasion to see her naked.There are a few erotic scenes that …;Nelly looks truly great naked or in bed with one of her two men,she looked very made-to-be-loved.( Naturalism,yes,and refuse of the current conventions,but Pialat always offers the eroticism without spoiling it.He seems very interested in the sexual ardor and his depictions of the intercourse are never cold,never completely detached,Pialat always manages to find the savor of an erotic scene. Physiology,yes,but Pialat detects something important and striking and spectacular in the sexual act—yes,spectacular,and I think this is the only oasis for the spectacular in his films.It is obvious that, filming intercourse,--Lolou/Nelly,and even André/Nelly,he is never simply documenting a relation—it is more than that.Pialat is one of the remarkable cinematographic poets of the sexuality. And the way he films the naked body—here,Mrs. Huppert's,Mrs. Bonnaire's in another film—well,this is surely an affectionate way of filming naked women—Pialat finds poetry and beauty in this,he is dispassionate till it comes to this …;and,suddenly,a striking beauty—here,Mrs. Huppert's young body--I consider this one of the most beautiful aspects of Pialat's art. For this committed realist,the beauty of the nude,the intensity of sex are real,they appear as real. )

    In another interesting film,…,Pialat filmed ,with equal gusto,Mrs. Bonnaire.This manifests his taste for the very feminine women.

    The main three actors—Huppert,Depardieu,Marchand—give truly extraordinary performances. Depardieu is required to look like a chimpanzee;he does.But beyond that he does a very good role.

    Pialat knew that there is a satisfaction of the mind in merely knowing the truth,in reaching it;in their radicalism his movies make very obvious this satisfaction obtained by the mind in knowing the truth.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I used to think that Isabelle Huppert became interested in sleaze in the late 90s, around the time she made School Of Flesh but now I see that as far back as 1980 she was inserting a toe into murky waters. Watching this film you get the impression that Pialet has seen Tennesee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire and focused on Stanley Kowalski and Stella DuBois at the expense of Blanche and decided to speculate on how Stella, a genteel daughter of a plantation owner, hooked up with Stanley, a Polish lorry driver who has been walking erect only since Tuesday. So, presumably using this speculation as a starting point Pialet takes up his scissors and a piece of thin cardboard and fashions Nelly (Huppert) an educated, middle class bored woman and allows her path to cross that of LouLou (Gerard Depardieu) a guy about one and a half steps up from an ape, lately out of the slammer whose only interests in life are sex and violence. The result is predictable; the moth is attracted to the flame. And that's it. No fresh insights into the Human Condition; no polemics, no point of view, just a trawl through a garbage can for its own sake. As ever Huppert and Depardieu are excellent as is Guy Marchand, whom Huppert leaves for Depardieu but sometimes excellence is not enough.
  • Bored, restless housewife Isabelle Huppert leaves her brutish husband for an overage juvenile delinquent, played by Gerard Depardieu in one of the roles that made him an unlikely international sex symbol. The film is an uninhibited look at the seamier side of romantic Paris, but may be altogether too dark for its own good, and not only in terms of lighting: the script itself is often unforgivably vague. A talented cast gives the largely improvised non-story an almost documentary feel, but with no sympathetic characters (and with a distracting lack of motivation) the film rambles on interminably in no particular direction. In the end it amounts to little more than just another exercise in urban spiritual malaise, complete with stock footage of the cuckold husband blowing a lonely late-night saxophone in his empty apartment, with the TV flickering silently in the background. Not even the most opaque European art-house mood piece can support that kind of cliché.
  • raskimono26 August 2005
    This is quite a dull movie. Well-shot with realistic performances especially a very good one from Depardieu as a cad and bad boy with realistic locations mood and art-house connotations all over, it fails because the director takes no position, stand or critical commentary on the topic he stipulates. One of France's revered and regular working partner on films with Depardieu - I believe they made 7 together - Pialat fails to engage. It seems to be a treatise on why women fall for the bad boy who will hurt when they have a ready caring boyfriend and good-hearted husband around. Isabelle Hupert who plays the philanderer with nonchalant distinction offers opprobrium answers like "I don't know"; "I like his arms"; "I like the way he makes love" to her inquiring husband who tries to kick her out of the house but palliates and reconsiders because... I assume he loves her. So he accepts and hope for what? That she will one day wake up and come to her senses. Things like this are not answered in Pialat's condescending docu-drama style with long speeches and even longer scenes that don't add up. I know the answers do not add up but please take a stand. Jules et Jim, this is not. The final shot as cold as the movie we have just watched is a heartache and headache only to the most forgiving.
  • Well-made but basically dreary low-life melodrama which, according to the accompanying interview with lead Isabelle Huppert, writer/director Pialat infused with a good deal of autobiographical detail; given the mainly unsympathetic characters involved, it doesn't do him any compliments - and he does seem to have been a troubled man, as Huppert also says that Pialat often disappeared for days on end during the shoot!

    The acting is uniformly excellent, however; despite their relatively young age, Huppert and co-star Gerard Depardieu (as the title character!) were already at the forefront of modern French stars - a status which, with varying degrees of success, they both still hold to this day.

    I have 3 more of Pialat's films in my "VHS To Watch" pile, albeit all in French without English Subtitles; due to this fact but also LOULOU'S oppressive realism - in spite of its undeniable artistic merit - I can't say that I'm in any particular hurry to check them out now...
  • Decent film, very early Huppert film. Some good scenes and standard story make for a fair watchable film.
  • wvisser-leusden21 January 2010
    'Loulou' delights in the same way an expensive, high quality French wine does. It leaves you with a very fine aftertaste.

    'Loulou's theme isn't new. The film doesn't carry an original plot either. Its colored picturing shows fine, but not extraordinary. Its setting is serious. Its elegant styling never and nowhere puts any weight on your mind.

    Whatever one further may say about 'Loulou', it's beyond doubt that this very French film stands out for its excellent acting. The three leads convincingly reflect all numerous doubts and tenses sparkling between them, making the plot alive. Their acting fully invites you to participate, to make friends.

    For those around at the time, 'Loulou' also provides an extra bonus: its perfectly captured mood of 1980.
  • jboothmillard4 March 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    I only found this French film because it was featured in the book of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, I recognised the leading actor starring, so I was hoping the critics giving good reviews was right. Basically middle-class Parisian housewife Nelly (Isabelle Huppert) is married to possessive husband André (Guy Marchand), but she is bored of her lifestyle and longs for something else. Then she meets charming street thug Loulou (Gérard Depardieu), he has no job and resorts to robbery to survive, but he provides Nelly some excitement, and she leaves her husband to have a passionate affair with him. For a while it just seems like a casual fling, Nelly is fulfilling lust and Loulou is getting sex and living off her money, but in the mind-set of a middle-class bourgeois, André is doing whatever he can to win back and convince her to return. But then things get complicated when Nelly finds out that she is pregnant with Loulou's child, but he says he will support her, whether he can change his ways and provide for her is a big question. Also starring Humbert Balsan as Michel, Bernard Tronczyk as Rémy, Christian Boucher as Pierrot, Frédérique Cerbonnet as Dominique, Jacqueline Dufranne as Mémère, Willy Safar as Jean-Louis and Agnès Rosier as Cathy. Huppert gives a good performance as the bored housewife who leaves her husband out of boredom and gives in to unadulterated lust, Depardieu is interesting as the unemployed layabout who is charming and likable, together they are an odd couple, but great to watch, there isn't much of story to talk about, it is more a look at social and sexual interaction in contemporary France, with some good backdrops, it is a watchable drama. Gerard Depardieu was number 90 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars. Very good!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What is the attraction for a bourgeois woman that makes her leave her world in exchange of an uncertain future? Boredom, plain and simple, or so it seems what makes Nelly, a woman who has a good life with Andre, her husband, an advertising executive, throw all away when she meets Loulou. He is a petty criminal living a marginal life, but who brings a new excitement to the life of this Parisian woman.

    One has seen this theme exploited before. Yet, director Maurice Pialat spun a different angle in a relationship between two people from opposite sides of society. The film is more about style than substance, as one is taken to the world of Loulou, a man that has not amounted to much, yet, he has a magnetic effect on Nelly. It is basically a story in which Nelly awakens to sensual situations she never felt with Andre. The film gives the viewer a glimpse of that particular period in Paris. It has a feeling of having been largely improvised, or that was probably the idea behind the screenplay by Mr. Pialat and Arlette Langmann, which takes the viewer into that milieu.

    The main reason for watching the film are the two stars: Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert, two of the brightest stars at an excellent point in their film careers. There is magnetism in their scenes as well as sexual explicitness. Guy Marchand appears as Andre, the husband who must accept his wife's decision in abandoning their marriage.
  • gavin694226 September 2016
    Maurice Pialat's portrait of contemporary France mocks prosperity as a substitute for social and sexual revolution. Nelly abandons her bourgeois friends and a steady relationship for the unemployed layabout Loulou, whose charms include focusing his energy into sex.

    As noted, this film was directed by Maurice Pialat. For the average person, the name Pialat means nothing. But he may be one of the best French directors of the last 25 years, what might be called the post-New Wave, perhaps. And "Loulou" in retrospect may be his most accessible work because it stars Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu, two of the biggest French stars of their era.

    I don't have much to say on the film itself because it was not a story that appealed to me. Technically well-made, and an interesting showcase for Depardieu if you like seeing him in bed. But not my sort of plot.