Those Who Love Me Can Take The Train

Death, Gallic style.

THE TITLE TELLS YOU all you need to know about the plot of this 1998 French import. Jean-Baptiste, a charismatic old artist, has died. The funeral is in the industrial city of Limoges, forcing a motley crew of his lovers, family, friends, and admirers to journey by train from fashionable Paris to the equivalent of Akron.


directed by Patrice Ch鲥au

runs March 3-9 at Grand Illusion

The simple premise offers many possibilities, ranging from farce to elegiac reflection, but writer-director Patrice Ch鲥au (Queen Margot) has chosen an edgy approach that recalls films made under the Dogma 95 banner. Like Thomas Vinterberg's The Celebration and Harmony Korine's Julien Donkey-Boy, Those Who Love Me shares a predilection for hand-held camera work, a pared-down aesthetic, and dysfunctional characters.

Most of the large cast's individual performances get lost in the shuffle, but a few stand out. Jean-Louis Trintignant, grand homme of international cinema (A Man and a Woman), gives Jean-Baptiste's twin brother an unsettling ambiguity. Vincent P鲥z (The Crow: City of Angels) is something of a Gallic Brad Pitt, so his role as a transvestite is meant to have a jolt that is lost on American audiences. Even so, the delicate 鬡n he gives Viviane/ Frederic is a welcome soft touch in a lengthy film of operatic emotions and overly ambitious pretensions.

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