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Private Property
Private Property
Actor: Isabelle Huppert; Jérémie Rénier; Patrick Descamps; Kris Cuppens; Yannick Renier; Raphaëlle Lubansu
Director: Joachim Lafosse
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2007     1hr 29min

Has the pulse of an emotional thriller.---Manohla Dargis, NEW YORK TIMES — Pascale (Isabelle Huppert) lives with her adult twin sons, aimless Franois (Yannick Renier) and headstrong Thierry (Jrmie Renier, star of Jean-Pi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Isabelle Huppert; Jérémie Rénier; Patrick Descamps; Kris Cuppens; Yannick Renier; Raphaëlle Lubansu
Director: Joachim Lafosse
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life
Studio: New Yorker Video
Format: DVD - Color,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 09/11/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 29min
Screens: Color,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French, French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Desire under the Roof
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 10/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Private Property" (Nue propriété ) primly begins with the dedication: "To Our Boundaries," which I assume, after seeing this film, is written tongue-in-cheek for this film smashes any logical/accepted boundaries between a Mother and her sons for starters.
Pascale (a blowsy, de-glamorized Isabelle Huppert) lives with her two sons, Thierry (a mean, feral Jeremie Renier) and Francois (the opposite of Thierry yet in real life the brother of Jeremie, Yannick Renier) in a country home filled with memories of a brutal divorce, the events leading up to the divorce and the detritus of hate, longing and betrayal that a bitter divorce leaves in it's wake. You know the scenario: the sons basically blame Pascale for the divorce and she blames her ex.
Pascale also feels strangled about her lot in life: her boys, really men roughly 23 or so treat her like a maid, mostly spend their days shooting rats on the river bank and only briefly look for work. The house is a heady cauldron of stew boiling over from all the deceit, yearning, sexual impropriety and parental wantonness. In many ways we could be in 1919 New England and watching Eugene O'Neill's "Desire Under the Elms," what with all the heady, musty, suppressed sexuality on view here.
Director Joachim LaFosse has an excellent eye and the film is shot in the muted colors of a Renoir painting which proves to be an alluring counterpoint to the less than glamorous goings on in Chez Pascale.
Isabelle Huppert plays Pascale from the inside: on the one hand concerned, loving, maternal and on the other searching for ways to rid herself of her burdens and escape with her lover. Huppert, never one to shy away from working on screen without makeup when a role calls for it, looks like a 50 year old put upon, used up woman who has but one shred of a hope left in her body and that shred does not include Thierry or Jeremie who have bled her dry with their need for attention and care, demands for love and obnoxious shows of disrespect.
LaFosse and his screenwriter have some interesting things to say here but most have been said before: the perils of divorce, loving your children too much, the necessity of building and more to the point keeping your life though you are married...and so on. What elevates "Private Property" from the turgid melodramas of the `40's ("Mildred Pierce" for example) is the wondrous ensemble acting: the magnificent Huppert and the forceful and always interesting Renier brothers.
Intimate family drama
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 01/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)


The French film, "Private Property," sets up a fierce battle of wills between a divorced mother and the two ne'er-do-well sons (fraternal twins) who still live with her. Pascale wants to sell the house and open up a bed-and-breakfast with her new boyfriend, but the young men, fearing the loss of the property that they believe should rightly go to them, attempt to block any efforts in that direction.

With intelligent direction by Joachim Lafosse and incisive writing by Lafosse and Francois Pirot, this low-keyed family drama explores the complexities inherent in filial, sibling and marital relationships. The confrontation scenes, many of which take place during meal times (come to think of it, I don't believe I've seen this much eating in a film since "Babette`s Feast"), are sharply drawn and effectively staged. The acting is excellent across the board, particularly that of Isabelle Huppert, as the middle-aged woman determined to finally start living for herself, and Jeremy Renier, as the more belligerent and self-centered of her two sons. Yannick Renier, Jeremy's brother in real life, is also very good as the more passive of the twins.

Some viewers may feel let down and frustrated by the inconclusive ending, but I enjoyed the ambiguity of it. We are made privy to just one brief episode in the lives of these people - then it's time for us all to move on."
A Long Day's Journey Into The Next Day
One More Option | USA | 10/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film presents this premise:

We choose many of our confinements.

Modern men and women have amazingly broad discretion to choose how we confine ourselves.

We choose the conditions under which we live.

The film starts off with a brief phrase, written in white against the black screen:

"A nos limites."

Translated: "To our boundaries."

The first scene is of a middle aged mother looking in the mirror at her shape in a new camisole. She is assessing if she is still visually attractive. We don't know it yet, but she is also asking herself if she should attempt a new path into a new relationship.

She is a single mother raising her two sons, who are now both young adults, but still live in the house they grew up in. Their father, who lost the house in the divorce settlement, and who always hoped the house would go to the boys, still lives in the same city and stops by occasionally to give the boys money.

Neither son pursues work, and both depend completely on their parents for financial support.

As the plot progresses, the conflicts of interest increase between the sons, who wish to stay and live an easy life in their parents' home, and their mother who would like to sell the home and go off to start a new life running a bed & breakfast.

Eventually, the mother receives more abuse from her sons than she can bear, so she leaves them in the house alone to live with each other.

The movie explores this question: What environments do your actions create for the people who live with you and depend on you?

I titled this review after O'Neill's famous play because of the movie's candid scenes of brutal verbal family fights. This film is focused on the question of: How do our actions of today effect the reality of our tomorrow? If we keep in the same patterns, will similar reality continue around us? This film is about real life and the cycles of daily life.

The sons become excessively inconsiderate and selfish, and in doing so, constrain their mother terribly, to the point she abandons them to fend for themselves. She can no longer carry them and live happily.

The movie suggests how we treat our "enemies," the people with whom we have strong conflicts of interest, probably says as much or more about us as how we treat the people we care about and with whom we are not in conflict. If you want to know someone more fully, investigate how they have treated their enemies and the people from their previous relationships.

The mother tries to venture off into a new life with a new love, but feels dutifully obligated to take care of her dysfunctional sons. She falls in love with a local chef who lives next door. Maybe more accurately, she falls in love with the world the chef creates with her when they are in each other's company. When we stay in a love relationship with someone, the love is not simply about how we interact and are drawn to the other person. Over time, the love thrives because we fall in love with the environments we create in each other's homes, activities, and social circles. We don't just fall in love with the person, we fall in love with the world they've created around them in the company of their familiars.

But the mother's new lover cannot abide the short-sightedness of her sons, and he chooses to step away until she deals with their behaviors.

I won't give away the final plot events, except to say the insensitivity and poor conflict-resolution-methods of the sons lead to a tragedy. The filmmakers intentionally do not define the tragic results, leaving the viewer with the intended question of:

Would would be worse? Would it be worse if the daily patterns and environments you create led to great harm of someone close to you? Or would it be worse if your actions effectively paralyzed others you depend on, limiting what they could do? How might your responses to conflict harm or limit the people closest to you?

The film is an exploration of boundaries, limits, and confinements.

Our lives are not determined by whether we "exceed" our limits or "stay within" our limits.

Our lives are determined by what we do with the limits we have, the limits we create, and the limits we choose.

Life is not limitless. There are many boundaries to many things. Some are chosen for us. Many we choose ourselves.

We are defined by what we do with the many limits surrounding us.

Those decisions determine the breadth and environments of our privately selected properties.

This is an excellent film, and I cannot recommend it highly enough."
A wretched waste of precious time
John Caruso | California, USA | 03/23/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)

"It would be difficult to summarize this film better than I have in the subject. Nothing happens, but along the way to nothing happening you get to spend 89 minutes with some of the most unpleasant characters ever committed to film. The main entertainment value is trying to choose which character is the least unlikeable (the prize for that goes to Thierry's girlfriend, with the neighbor Jan a distant second). The film isn't a "meditation", which implies a depth of thought that's nowhere to be found here; it's at most a snapshot, and a snapshot of a scene you'll be grateful to have missed. It's too late for me, but I implore you: save the precious moments of your life you'd otherwise have lost forever by watching this, and spend them on one of the dozens of more worthwhile films out there instead.