Lili [1953]

Inspired by The Seagull, Claude Miller's La Petite Lili takes place in present day Brittany. While Chekhov's play was set in a theatrical milieu, longtime Truffaut associate Miller (Alias Betty) sets his film in a cinematic one (a là Day For Night). The title character is an aspiring actress (Ludivine Sagnier, Swimming Pool), who is seeing experimental filmmaker Julien (Robertson Stévenin). She would prefer to be working with an established commercial director like Brice (Bernard Giraudeau, Ridicule), who is involved with his leading lady--Julien's mother, Mado (Nicole Garcia). By the conclusion, Lili will have achieved her goal, but at what cost? Well, unlike The Seagull, La Petite Lili isn't a tragedy, so no one character will make out too badly. And as in François Ozon's Water Drops on Burning Rocks, itself based on a play (by Rainer Werner Fassbinder), Sagnier and Giraudeau make for a strangely compelling screen couple. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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