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VA SAVOIR? aka WHO KNOWS?
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Jeanne Balibar, Sergio Castellitto, Marianne Basler, Jacques Bonnaffe, Helene de Fougerolles, Bruno Todeschini, Catherine Rouvel, Claude Berri, Attilio Cucari, Bettina Kee, Luciana Castellucci, Emanuele Vacca, Arturo Armone Caruso, Valeria Cavalli, Fausto Maria Sciarappa
Director: Jacques Rivette
Countries: France / Italy / Germany
Language: French (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 154 mins
UK: 156 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for brief nudity
UK Certificate: PG contains mild language and sex references
USA Release Date: 28 September 2001 (Limited Release - New York)
UK Release Date: 4 January 2002
Labelled a 'flawless gem' by some, VA SAVOIR? debuted at Cannes Film Festival 2001 to a great response and was screened at the London Film Festival 2001.
Rivette, one of France's great auteurs is known for his controversial, uncompromising filmmaking: VA SAVOIR? is no exception, but it is a comedy set in Paris, made in the lighter vein of an earlier film like CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING. It follows the tale of Camille (Jeanne Balibar), a young French actress, who left Paris for Italy three years ago. The reasons for her departure, or rather her flight, remain mysterious. She has found love and success in Turin. Ugo (Sergio Castellitto), a famous director who heads a theatre company, has given her a chance. She has become a leading lady in the company and his lover. This is the first time that she has returned to Paris to act in a series of performances of 'Come tu mi Vuoi' (As You Desire Me) by Luigi Pirandello. Camille will be confronted with the past she has fled. She secretly dreads meeting Pierre (Jaques Bonnaffe), the man she left. But she will meet him again.
Ugo has a secret. Being in Paris is for him an opportunity to search for the lost, unpublished manuscript THE DESTINY OF VENICE by Goldoni. This search will lead him to the seductive Dominique (Helene De Fougerolles), also known as Do. Passions will rise, leading to an improbable duel to the death, where each will have to face the truth, and where the theatre, once again, will serve as a backdrop and a revelation.
Despite the elaborate settings of the Pirandello play, the audience is drawn towards the offstage developments, which prove to be much more intriguing than the Pirandello production, although the entertaining final scene in the movie is played out on the actual theatre set. The only music in the film is Peggy Lee's fantastic 'Senza Fine' played over the final scene and end credits.
Rivette's delightful romantic comedy was one of the most enjoyable films at Cannes Film Festival 2001, with a highly engaging performance from its superb cast, notably the marvellous Jeanne Balibar.