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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Augustine by Alice Winocour, 2012 (NR)

with Soko, Vincent Lindon (Bastards), Chiara Mastroianni (Bastards), Olivier Rabourdin, Roxane Duran, Lise Lamétrie, Sophie Cattani, Grégoire Colin (Bastards), Ange Ruze, Stéphan Wojtowicz

When beautiful kitchen maid Augustine (French recording artist Soko) suffers an inexplicable, violent seizure, she is sent to a psychiatric hospital specializing in the treatment of feminine "hysteria" and presided over by Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (a founding father of modern neurology and a mentor to Sigmund Freud). Fascinated by his new patient, Charcot (Vincent Lindon) quickly makes Augustine the star attraction in a series of hysteria presentations, hypnotizing her to induce spectacular fits for crowded lecture halls. As the full nature of Augustine's affliction begins to emerge, the relationship between doctor and patient becomes more complicated and personal power dynamics start to shift. Based on a true story from late 19th century Paris, Augustine is a lush, darkly sensuous tale of romance, psychology, and sexual politics.

Another movie with Vincent Lindon and Chiara Mastroianni. A strange one. I was told to pay attention, since it was so much connected to the play "Some Historic Some Hysteric" and a demonstration of how ignorant people were, comparing to the time of Masters of Sex, who still had so much to discover. The movie has a strange curve, with no real climax, no real contradiction, no real drama, it feels like documented from a blind point of view, which missed half of the story. Wouldn't it have been fascinating to know more about Augustine's emotional journey, or Dr. Charcot's struggle to get his discoveries to another level, or the political game of the people of research and science... Everything is there, and still nothing gets deep, so, when the movie ends, it feels incomplete, in suspense.

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