Private Fears In Public Places review

New Wave veteran Alain Resnais makes a robust return to form with this tragi-comic study of longing and loneliness, transposing Alan Ayckbourn’s source play from London to a wintry Paris. Shot in a series of studio-bound interiors, Private Fears... comprises some 50 short scenes dissecting the interconnected and unfulfilled lives of six middle-aged characters. There’s an estate agent (Andre Dussollier) who lives with his younger sister and is drawn to his devout secretary (Sabine Azema); an engaged couple on the verge of calling it quits; and a sympathetic bartender (Pierre Arditi) saddled with a cantankerous dad. The theatrical, colour-coded sets, graceful camerawork and scene-bridging snowfall motif create a quasi-fairytale feel. But it’s the beautifully tuned ensemble acting that infuses this funny, sad treat with real humanist heft.

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