“We always meet again… In 16 years of friendship, in spite of births, sickness, travel, films, there always was room for you and me.”
A renowned actress (Jeanne Moreau) and her friends (Lucia Bose, Caroline Cartier, and Francine Racette) deal with love and career choices in Paris.
Jeanne Moreau’s directorial debut offers more of a meditation on women’s lives than a compelling narrative; her attempt, a la Robert Altman, to touch upon the travails of a host of interwoven characters necessarily fragments the story, often to its detriment. Moreau herself ultimately emerges as the most sympathetic (and central) character: her story — thanks in no small part to her luminous performance — is eminently watchable, and her three love interests — played by Francois Simon (as her older “companion”), Francis Huster, and Bruno Ganz — are all perfectly cast. Unfortunately, we learn much less about either Cartier (virtually a non-presence) or Bose (a fine Italian actress whose character possesses an intriguing, though unplumbed, back story). Meanwhile, Racette primarily provides comic relief — as in the film’s most humorous scene, involving a hilarious David Carradine as a horny American who catches sight of Racette in a restaurant and tracks her down ruthlessly; this could be creepy, but Moreau wisely chooses to play it for laughs. Ultimately, Lumiere‘s fractured, imbalanced narrative prevents it from being “must see”, but Moreau’s ability to effortlessly evoke a particular milieu — one she’s intimately familiar with — makes it worth viewing at least once.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Jeanne Moreau as Sarah
- Lucia Bose as Laura
- Bruno Ganz as Heinrich Grun
- Francois Simon as Gregoire
- Julienne (Francine Racette) negotiating a romantic encounter with a horny American (Keith Carradine)
No, though fans of Moreau’s work will likely be curious to check it out.