Last time Patrice Chéreau stepped behind the camera, blood ran red in 16th-century Paris. In his follow-up to La Reine Margot, there's only one corpse, it's the present day, and the brutality is purely emotional.
The relatives, lovers and so-called friends of painter Jean-Baptiste Emmerich (Jean-Louis Trintignant) gather for his funeral. As they travel to the cemetery, the hand-held camera sticks close to their faces, highlighting the friction between them. This pressure-cooker atmosphere relaxes in the vast landscapes of the burial ground in Limoges, where the complex web binding these alienated individuals becomes clearer.
Then it's time for the wake and a metaphorical journey: a long, bitter night of confessions and accusations which bring the group's fears and desires to a head.
Chéreau elicits an awe-inspiring ensemble performance from the cast, but also allows each performer to shine, making for world-class acting in every frame.