Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2001
UK: Artificial Eye Film Co
Cast: Michel Piccoli, Antoine Chapey, John Malkovich, Catherine Deneuve, Leonor Baldaque, Leonor Silveira, Ricardo TrÍpa, Jean-Michel Arnold, Adrien de Van, Sylvie Testud, Andrew Wale, Robert Dauney, Isabel Ruth, Jean Koeltgen, Mauricette Gourdon, Vania, Jacques Parsi, Armel Monod, Jean Chicot, Christian Ameri, Bruno Guillot, Bernard Sanchez, Jean-Luc Horvais
Director: Manoel De Oliveira
Countries: France / Portugal
Language: French (English subtitles)
UK: 90 mins
UK Certificate: PG contains mild threat and language
UK Release Date: 17 May 2002


Gilbert Vamence (Michael Piccoli) is a theatre actor, his talent and lengthy career have secured him the greatest of roles. At present, he is playing Berenger I in 'Exit The King' by Eugene Ionesco. One evening, after the performance, his life is stricken with tragedy: his agent and old friend, Georges, informs him that his wife, daughter and son-in-law have been killed in a road accident.

In time, life regains a semblance of normality. Gilbert Valence now divides his time between his grandson, whom he dotes on, and the theatre, which continues apace. He is now playing Prospero in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' and the young actress who plays Miranda opposite him every night is attracted to him but he doesn't have the heart to start an affair.

His agent offers him a leading role in a TV movie with all the modern ingredients: sex, drugs and violence. Gilbert Valence sees red and finds the role totally repulsive. He hasn't pursued a life-long career in acting to now compromise himself for money he will make taking the job.

However an American director (John Malkovich) offers him a role in 'Ulysses', an adaptation of Joyce's novel, which he accepts enthusiastically. It's not a leading role but he has to learn an English script in a short deadline as he is taking over the role from another actor that pulled out at the last minute.

On the set while he is doing a run-through at the director's request Gilbert Valence hesitates and blanks on some of his lines - but no problem they'll do it again tomorrow. But next morning in the middle of the shoot the actor feels the world slipping away from him, the text deserts him and he stops in mid stream. Calmly he says: "I'm going rest". He abruptly leaves the studio.

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