Before The Winter Chill (avant L’hiver)

Directed by Philippe Claudel
  • France/Luxembourg
  • 103 minutes
  • 2013

They are the perfect French haute bourgeois couple. Paul (Daniel Auteuil) is a respected surgeon; Lucie (Kristin Scott Thomas) cooks and gardens exquisitely. Together, they bring joy and a sense of stability to their extended family and community of friends. But the passion for Paul of a stranger (Leïla Bekhti) brings chaos into their well-manicured existence.

Novelist/film-maker Philippe Claudel’s second film opens as a skilful, unnerving Gallic take on Fatal Attraction, with a nod to the great Claude Chabrol’s thrillers, but it is far too smart to follow those well-worn tracks, gradually morphing into something more disconcertingly original and passionate. Claudel extends the strong creative partnership he began with Scott Thomas in I’ve Loved You So Long (JDIFF 2010) and extracts a superb, poignant performance from Auteuil, as he offers an unforgettable glimpse at the skeleton beneath the elegant skin of suburban gentility.

Telluride Film Festival

Kristin Scott Thomas, Daniel Auteuil, Leila Bekhti