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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Kings & Queen (review)

Ismaël (Mathieu Amalric) believes that women have no souls because they live in bubbles, and that men’s souls are a consequence of their “living to die.” One can take that as a serious commentary on the states of men’s and women’s lives — on the practicality forced upon women as they deal with such basic necessities of life as food and hugs that frees men for such luxuries as philosophy — or as a joke about the same thing, for director Arnaud Desplechin (who cowrote the script with Roger Bohbot) mixes with aplomb equal measures of intellectual screwball comedy and dark metaphysical tragedy, though part of the joke may be that you often can’t tell which is which. After all, there’s Nora (Emmanuelle Devos), who lives in a bubble of her own creation while the men around her die, including the father of her young son and her own father… but her connection to their lives and deaths is its own sly commentary on Ismaël’s belief. Hypnotic and provocative, this is not to be missed by fans of thoughtful, mesmerizing filmmaking.


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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