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  Je T'aime Moi Non Plus Getting To The Bottom Of It
Year: 1976
Director: Serge Gainsbourg
Stars: Jane Birkin, Joe Dallesandro, Hugues Quester, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Gérard Depardieu, Jimmy Davis, Maité Nahir, Liliane Rovère, Gillian Gill, Josiane Lévêque, Doris Thomas, Raoul Delfosse, Michel Blanc, Alain David, Claudia Butenuth
Genre: Drama, Sex, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Krassky (Joe Dallesandro) and his boyfriend Padovan (Hugues Quester) are truck drivers who take rubbish to the dump in their large lorry. Today a crow hits the windscreen and once the reach their destination Padovan throws the bird's corpse into the air and pretends it's a plane he's machine gunning; meanwhile Krassky goes to relieve himself in the garbage. Padovan looks as if he'd like to take things further while they're there alone, but Krassky hops back into the cab and they drive off, pausing to give a lift to a bunch of young men who have crashed their car. However, when one of them reveals himself to hate gays, he's pushed out and all but one of the others are ejected from the back. Nothing will change Krassky's lifestyle, or so he thinks - but then he meets waitress Johnny (Jane Birkin)...

Serge Gainsbourg, who wrote and directed for the first time here, was the genius behind some of France's greatest pop songs of the nineteen-sixties, but by the end of his life if many outside his home country knew him it was for being a dirty old man who had recorded a dodgy song decades ago and bothered Whitney Houston on a talk show. This film sees him at some point between those two poles and also proves that if you're wont to wonder what the story behind the song is in most cases it's probably best you don't ask. On the strength of this, Gainsbourg was one of those people who was preoccupied with subjects that would never cross the minds of the majority of everyone else.

The title, which loosely translated means "I love you, neither do I", highlights the problem that the story concerns itself with, amongst an abundance of imagery connected to waste, only stopping short of showing actual shit. That problem is that you can't expect a leopard to change their spots, not even if you're in love with them, according to the way this pans out at any rate. There's a minimum of dialogue, just enough to keep the slow paced narrative moving in a forward momentum, but it becomes clear quite quickly that Krassky, or appropriately Krass for short, is attracted to Johnny, so called because of her skinny, boyish figure. Yes, it's because she looks like a girlish young man that Krassky hooks up with her, much to the dismay of his boyfriend who is left to be beaten up by thugs at a local dance and otherwise feel neglected.

The main reason this seems to have been made was to see if a homosexual chap can enjoy a loving relationship with a heterosexual girl, and by that they mean a sexual relationship. This leads up to scenes where it is revealed that Krassky can only achieve satisfaction through anal sex, including with Johnny, something she finds incredibly painful and is apt to let out screams of agony while he attends to her. After being chucked out of motels by the owners who quite rightly want to know what all that worrying yelping is all about, the lovers finally find a place of peace and quiet at the dump where Johnny can shout all she likes and they won't be disturbed (although you might be). Is this supposed to be funny? Or is Gainsbourg yet again exercising his sexual fantasies? Whatever, it's difficult to take seriously as a meditation on love or sex, and will most likely have you contemplating on whether this was really what that song was about. The music is by Gainsbourg as well, including an instrumental version of the title tune.

[Optimum's Region 2 DVD has... no features whatsoever, although Gainsbourg fans will want to check this out anyway.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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