"Gabrielle" is an airless, forgettable
adaptation of Joseph Conrad's short story that
drains all the drama out of this tale of marital
discord. M. Hervey (Pascal Greggory) is a
self-satisfied bourgeois husband who treats
his wife, Gabrielle (Isabelle Huppert), as one
of his many possessions. One day, he comes
home to discover a letter
from her informing
him that she has departed with another man.
He's immediately shattered by the news, but
Gabrielle returns before long and they attempt
to return to the rituals of their marriage. Of
course, the marriage is so poisoned that
neither can live out the charade.
Director Patrice Chereau designs the film as a
narrow critique of class structure and how a
sense of privilege hides the darker impulses
within this couple. But Chereau pretty much
condemns them before we can even perceive
their duplicities. "Gabrielle" reeks of the same
snobbery it denounces in others.
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Pascal
and Claudia Coli. Directed by Patrice
Chereau. Written by Patrice Chereau and
Anne-Louise Trividic. Produced by Joseph
Strub, Serge Catoire and Ferdinanda
Frangipane. No distributor set. Drama.
French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated.
Running time: 90 min