Film Scouts Reviews

"Le Affinita elettive (The Elective Affinities)"

by David Sterritt

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I went into their new "Elective Affinities" with a perfectly open mind, especially since I have a soft spot for Isabelle Huppert and also have fond memories of the Goethe novel it's based on; but whichever Taviani is the good brother, his evil sibling was in there somewhere messing up the works. True, the movie has gorgeous camera work, and the performances are reasonably convincing. But all the earnest acting and sumptuous cinematography in the world couldn't compensate for its perilously low energy level, which becomes downright draining after a while. (Its position in the festival's second half, when critics' own energy levels are likely to be plummeting, didn't help.) The production has French dialogue--probably because of its financing, possibly because of Huppert, and conceivably because there was a passably good Italian version of the novel about a dozen years ago--so it can officially be declared a multinational disappointment.

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