The Captive review

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Following on from last year's Time Regained comes another Marcel Proust adaptation, a sombre version of the fifth volume of Remembrance Of Things Past. Belgian writer-director Chantal Akerman relocates the book's two main characters to a contemporary, albeit strangely deserted, Paris, where the wealthy idler Simon (Stanislas Merhar) shares a labyrinthine apartment with his girlfriend Ariane (Sylvie Testud).

Pathologically possessive, Simon spends his days following Ariane, and in the evenings subjects her to questions about her thoughts and feelings, especially her attraction to other women. The replies are invariably evasive...

Filmed in often static takes, The Captive echoes Hitchcock's Vertigo in its probing examination of male sexual obsession. The dispassionate performances of Merhar and Testud, alongside Akerman's tightly crafted direction, add to the sense of a film poised between dream and reality.

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