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2015年11月23日 星期一

Caprice (她的名字叫 <任性>)

It is easy to say that all men should be decisive in their love life and stay faithful. But life has a way making it difficult for them both through their own weakness and by the kind of tricks chance plays upon them. Is it any different for a woman? Emmanuel Mouret who wrote the dialogue and directed the film Caprice (2015) created slightly less than two hours Sunday entertainment out of that theme.

Clément Dussaut (Emmanuel Mouret), a sensitive lover of the theatre is a patient and conscientious primary school teacher, whose wife Claire (Gabrielle Atger) left him for another man and to him the joint custody of their kid, and who likes the play which figures Alicia Bardery (Virginie Efira) which he would see time and again, happens to sit besides a young aspiring actress who sees him full of tears during the last scene and who happens to bounced into him for the third time in the same theatre then develops an instant affection for him and tries her best to get him interested in her but fails. Then by another accident, Alicia, who has just broken off another unsuccessful relationship, goes to Clement's school to look for a private tutor for her nephew and after seeing how Clément work with some of his pupils, decides that he's the right man.


Before long, Clément timidly asks Alicia out for dinner and a relation develops. Everything seems working fine until Caprice (Anaïs Demoustier), not knowing that he already has a girl friend, constantly pesters him in school, much to the embarrassment of Clément. Alicia seems to believe that Clément is the man one of her dreams suggests is the right man for her because according to that dream, the man shall be a stranger in the teaching profession. In the meantime, his best friend at the school, Thomas (Laurent Stocker) who is separated from his wife and win whom Clément confides the most intimate details of his emotional life, meet a pair of girls at the local pub who seem interested in them who decide to pick them up. One of the pair happens to be Caprice, who does her best to seduce Clément, who is the kind of guy who can never have the courage to say "no" definitively, is led into a one night stand with her and thereafter lives in mortal fear of being found out by Alicia, especially when he was seen early in the morning by their 5-year house-keeper, when he emerges from Caprice's apartment. The maid then hands in her resignation the following day, much to the surprise of Alicia.

Caprice continues to pester Clément and persuades him against his better judgment to attend the premiere of a play she appears as the lead actress in a suburban theatre at which Clément appears genuinely moved and he offers to her the manuscript of a play which he has written for comment. She returns the manuscript with her detailed comments, with many lines underlined in red and re-written. Clément finds it hugely improved to such an extent that he now dares show it to Alicia, who after seeing it becomes so convinced that Clément has some real talent that she has it published and appears as the leading lady in that play which she has her theatre manager produce. It proves a huge success. But the pressure of the secret and the constant unexpected appearance of Caprice at his school grows so unbearable that Clément decides to make a clean breast of it to Alicia, who after some hesitation decides to forgive him. Clément is so overjoyed that he slipped on the stairs and broke his leg. Caprice, undaunted by Clément's declaration that they must never see each other again, keeps on helping him, hoping against hope that Clément would one day be moved by her persistent determination to have him. Then Caprice has an accident and Clément could not find in in his heart not to go to the hospital to make sure that she is OK at the risk of jeopardising his relationship with Alicia one more time. At the end of the film, everything works out fine. Caprice has disappeared as suddenly as she first appeared. But somehow, Clément appears unable to forget her and much against his will, still thinks of her from time to time.

Emmanuel Mouret seems a bit undecided what he wants to do in this film. He intends it as a comedy and there are certainly some hilarious scenes of Clément's predicament but he seems to want the film to be more than just pure French visual slapsticks.  Perhaps he wants to show in addition the ironies of life and the kind of jokes life seems to want to play on our emotions or perhaps how the human heart is weaker than the head and that man is curious mix of both and something like "caprice" may be as real as presence or absence of our pay check at our ban account at the end of the month such that one can never judge man as harshly as we would otherwise do? Whatever it is that Mouret wants to do, he certainly puts in a credible performance of Clément as the timid, indecisive, ordinary, sensitive and yet in a way very endearing primary school teacher that he is. Anaïs Demoustier is also excellent as the always bubbly and indomitable optimist who refuses to believe that it is possible that Clément can forever resist her irrational fondness of him. I like too the soft, cool and slightly indifferent jazz music in the background which seems to set the whole mood of the movie.