To be honest, I really dont understand how, after the debacle of 3 Hearts (2014), Benoît Jacquot is still allowed to make cinema. At this point, somebody should take away his French citizenship for a miserable and paltry contribution to a sparkling filmmaking heritage. One could naïvely ask, just like Werner Herzog did once in his famous documentary: “But why?” And sadly, there is no logical explanation.
In 3 Hearts, the main character had a hard time choosing a beloved between two sisters, and his sentimental indecision was reinforced by the fact that he also had a heart disease. If you ever thought that Jacquot couldnt get more tacky and literal than this so-called metaphor, you will be surprised that he gets there by adapting Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist. A movie director (Mathieu Amalric) is mesmerized by a young performance artist (Julia Roy); he takes her home after a show (and by “home” I mean a haunted villa somewhere in Portugal) and they have passionate sex. They become inseparable; the French are good at l’amour fou, n’est-ce pas? But no sooner are they married than our director goes back to his previous partner, and then there is an accident, and then our young widow finds herself tormented by noises in the night.
Jacquot depicts her pain over the death of her (always busy and always smoking) beloved by turning Amalric into an illiterate ghost that needs help to move through the world: he must be fed, bathed, and masturbated. There is no ambiguity, no mystery—just something reminiscent of a French/Italian erotic ’80s B movie. The director’s attempts to provoke and disturb are straight out of a textbook. The film is not complex; it is superficial. I do like the title, provided it describes my chances of seeing another Jacquot movie.