La lectrice (The Reader) (1988) - Michel Deville

 At the suggestion of a friend, Constance (Miou-Miou) places an ad in the paper offering her services as a reader in this romantic comedy drama. Her job leads her to a variety of employers and occasional romantic involvement. Maria Casares plays the widow of an East European general who has Constance read Tolstoy and Marx. Pierre Dux is the local magistrate who prefers to hear the memoirs of the Marquis de Sade. She also has an affair with a harried business executive played by Patrick Chesnais.
One evening in bed a young woman (Miou-Miou) begins to read a book called "La Lectrice" to her husband. It tells the story of Marie (Miou-Miou again), who decides to place an advert in her local newspaper offering her services as a reader. This results in her being hired by a wide range of the town's inhabitants, often with unexpected results. A teenage boy in a wheelchair (Regis Royer) asks her to read Maupassant and Baudelaire; the Hungarian widow of a general (Maria Cazares) selects her favourite passages from the works of Marx and Lenin; a businessman (Patrick Chesnais) with no time to read seems to be more interested in Marie than in the book she is reading; a young girl (Charlotte Farran) whose mother is too busy to read to her requests Alice In Wonderland. The town's authorities are constantly suspicious of Marie's new profession and the strange effect it seems to be having on some of her clients.

The complex structure of the film is a delight, constantly switching between scenes involving Marie and her clients and those from the books she is reading. Strong sensual overtones emerge as some of the clients confuse the services Marie is offering with those they imagine she is offering.
Miou-Miou is excellent in the role of Marie, the southern town of Arles in winter looks magnificent, and the whole thing is driven along by the music of Beethoven. The overall effect is to heighten the viewer's interest in books and reading and make them want to seek out some of the books included in the film. Highly recommended for bibliophiles everywhere.

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César Awards - Nominated Best Film

XviD 704x384 | 1814 kb/s | 192 kb/s AC3 | 25 fps | 1.32 GB + 3% recovery record
Subtitles: English, Spanish and Polish .srt


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