Review: The New Eve

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Karin Viard and Pierre-Loup Rajot
Karin Viard and Pierre-Loup Rajot in The New Eve




You might be tempted re-translate a title like that (in its original French: La Nouvelle Eve) as “Women Today, Huh”, and watch the film as a portrait of, well, you follow my drift. Played by Karin Viard, our heroine Camille is a neurotic ball of angst, a woman on a quest for happiness, and hang the cost to others. The film opens with Camille at a party of almost comical anything-goesness, but even she pushes it too far – finally throwing up on her host’s bed after having done all the drugs and all the genders in a night of excess. After that, for Camille it’s a series of pffts to the niceties of normal life and a string of no-strings sexual conquests. Until she hits resistance after trying to separate the local socialist pin-up (Pierre-Loup Rajot) from his wife. He’s a man of principle, she’s a woman of pure self-interest – stand back and watch the dramatic fireworks. In spite of the obvious attractions of this movie – sex is fun, after all – it’s probably the performance by Viard that keeps this from being a one-note me-me-me display of awful narcissism. Camille may be the sort of screaming baggage who’s great for one drunken night only but Viard presents her as a woman broken by the waves of her own wild mood swings. This is not a drama about women today at all, but instead a portrait of the sort of freewheeling bohemianism that looks so attractive from the outside but which leads to loneliness – because relationships require commitment, and that means a surrender of some part of the self, which is the bit that Camille struggles with. The New Eve is dirty but it’s also sophisticated, intelligent and politically and psychologically savvy. I forgot to mention that it’s also funny. Meanwhile, on the Anglophone end of the great cultural divide, we have silly Bridget Jones. Alors.
© Steve Morrissey 1999


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The New Eve (1999) Comedy, Drama, Romance | 94min | 27 January 1999 (France) 6.1
Director: Catherine CorsiniWriter: Catherine Corsini, Marc SyrigasStars: Karin Viard, Pierre-Loup Rajot, Catherine FrotSummary: Camille is having the time of her life, enjoying all that Paris' decadent nightlife has to offer a young single woman. She parties all night with sexual abandon, then stumbles home at dawn, hungover and ready to do it all over again. But things change when, by chance, she meets Alexis, a married father of two and a militant political activist. Written by Alejandro Muñoz A (Colombian audiovisual producer)


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