I’ve had this for awhile, and it’s one those ‘serious’ dramas I’d been meaning to watch, but have only I’d just finished it after seeing it in two parts over the course of one week.

There’s something very French about this film, besides being set in Paris. It sortof reminded me of Altman’s Short Cuts and Leigh’s Secrets & Lies, and a little of Allen’s Manhattan.

It’s not really about ‘ordinary’ people, so much as it is about good-looking middle-class being unhappy and worrying about love, death and unhappiness. So it’s less about people coming to terms with reality and accepting each other for who they are emotionally, as in Secrets, and more about loneliness, fate and regrets in life, as in Manhattan and Short Cuts.

I’d actually heard of the director before from an interview with the US director David O Russell way back in 2000, who’d mentioned While The Cat Was Away, and how much he’d enjoyed this little known film.

Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but some of the subplots don’t really seem to lead anyway. The Corisan girl, who Romain Duris desires but never meets, who gets a job at local cafe and her boyfriend (?) who is hitchhiking from wherever. The lady who is killed in a motorcycle crash. The friend of the lonely university lecturer who works as an architect and suddenly has a midlife crisis when he realises he’s unhappy.

Presumably these are the stories which Duris imagines about the neighbours he spies on from his balcony – but what does this really mean?

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