By Don Simpson | August 9, 2012
Director: André Téchiné
Writers: André Téchiné (screenplay), Mehdi Ben Attia (screenplay), Philippe Djian (novel)
Starring: Andre Dussolier, Carole Bouquet, Mélanie Thierry, Adriana Asti, Mauro Conte, Alexis Loret, Zoé Duthion, Andrea Pergolesi
Francis (Andre Dussolier) is an author of crime fiction who relocates to Venice in order to work on his next novel. He meets a younger woman, a real estate agent named Judith (Carole Bouquet), with whom he becomes instantly infatuated. Eventually, Judith gives in to Francis’ advances; then, they marry and decide to live in a secluded house on Torcello Island.
Unfortunately, Francis is unable to write whenever he is in love; and the writer’s block redirects his overactive imagination towards obsessing about Judith’s day-to-day activities. All the while, Francis’ daughter (Mélanie Thierry) disappears with a bourgeois drug trafficker (Andrea Pergolesi). Francis hires a retired private detective (Adriana Asti) to track down his daughter and an ex-convict (Mauro Conte) to tail Judith.
Francis’ lack of trust in his daughter and wife seem unreasonable, even unfathomable, as he goes to great lengths to keep tabs on their every action. Unforgivable contemplates obsession and infatuation as these feelings are exasperated by Francis’ self-induced loneliness. Then, as skeletons from Judith’s past become unearthed, Francis becomes even more delusional and paranoid.
Writer-director André Téchiné formulates a multi-layered narrative that meanders with an almost surrealist logic as Unforgivable never settles down into one specific storyline or genre. The passage of time seems practically random and every scene moves the plot in a slightly different direction. It is as if we are experiencing Unforgivable as a series of memories, rather than in a logical cinematic reality. The result is a confounding web of events that requires a certain amount of attention and patience on behalf of the audience — which is not necessarily a bad thing in my book.