This evening's too-rare U.S. screening of Chantal Akerman's wonderful 2000 La Captive at New York's Alliance Française has occasioned some new and interesting contemplations of the film, which Akerman freely but in her way quite faithfully adapted from Proust's La Prisoniere. My reason for chiming in here is just to note, in a friendly way, that these contemplations miss one crucial thing, that is, that the film is rather mordantly hilarious almost throughout, at least until its admittedly tragic and haunted/haunting ending.
There's the very odd old-money-Parisian domestic setup to begin with, in which the Albertine stand-in Ariane (Sylvie Testud) is in a menage with Marcel stand-in Simon (Stanislas Merhar)...and his elderly aunt. And then there's Simon himself, who combines an obsessive sexual jealousy worthy of Raging Bull's Jake LaMotta with a ridiculously effete aesthete's delicacy that yields remarkable comic effects throughout. Particularly when he launches into a rhapsody on Ariane's erotic aroma which he interrupts with a complaint of the pollen she carries into their apartment, and how it makes his allergies flare up. What a drip, as it were, and quite the inspired cinematic creation.