Review by: Graeme Kay | Rating:
Passionately romantic account of a woman's one-night stand
with a total stranger.
Laure (Valerie Lemercier) is moving out of her own flat to move
in with her lover, Francois. But on the eve of her big move, she
becomes trapped in a Paris traffic jam, caused by a strike of
public sector workers.
Stuck in her car and listening to the radio to relieve the tedium,
Laure hears a woman DJ imploring motorists to pick up pedestrians
who may otherwise have to walk home.
After one abortive attempt to recruit a passenger, Laure welcomes
Jean (Vincent Lindon) into her car.
Despite being middle-aged and scruffy, Jean has a rough sexuality
that Laure is immediately drawn to. And, after initially rejecting
Jean's advances, possibly because she is thinking of her boyfriend,
she later tracks him down and a night of passion begins.
Directed by Claire Denis (Beau Travail and Trouble
Every Day), and based on the novel by Emmanuele Bernheim,
Vendredi Soir is a sparsely constructed, but sensual film, driven
by the simmering sexual tension between the leading characters.
The dialogue is kept to a minimum, allowing the faces and bodies
of Jean and Laure to speak volumes as they indulge themselves
fully in the thrill of their illicit liaison.
The intimacy and air of mystery and danger that they are obviously
relishing is conveyed through stolen glances and the softly spoken
We find out very little about either character's history, but
rather than making them remote or unsympathetic, this simply serves
to increase the viewer's empathy, the result being that Jean and
Laure become vehicles not only for their own fantasies but also
those of the audience.