Not Here To Be Loved
Divorced, cheerless, well heeled 51-year-old ‘huissier de justice’ (bailiff) Jean-Claude (Patrick Chesnais) lives a life of silent misery. Between repossessions and visiting his cantankerous old dad (Georges Wilson) at the nursing home, he has managed to inveigle his plant loving son into his misery by insisting he takes a job in the family business. When his doctor tells him to get some exercise he enrols in a local Tango dance class where he runs into old family friend Françoise (Anne Consigny). The meeting is to affect both their lives in profound ways.
Films about bailiffs are a tough call at the best of times; only Alex Cox can really lay claim to making anything of such sparse material with his seminal 1984 debut Repo Man. French writer/director Stéphane Brizé, whose previous feature Hometown Blue (which has not yet been released in this country) displayed his maudlin affinity for this kind of sly character study, brings touches of surety and control in the early part of Not Here To Be Loved, but then allows everything to get sieved through a cliché filter. What starts out as a drama of tiny strokes and truths ends as a very French ageing male fantasy. If you have seen the execrable Shall We Dance? (both Japanese and US versions) or are familiar with the oeuvre of Alain Resnais you may feel that you have seen this film many times before.