Those Who Love Me Can Take The Train

****1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

On the surface, this is a simple story. An artist dies of heart failure. His friends and family travel to Limoges for the funeral. Most leave after the ceremony. A few stay in the big house overnight and leave in the morning.

Under the surface, passions flame, emotions claw and scratch, old wounds open, new ones are inflicted. The air is thick with lust, loathing and intrigue. Wit is barbed, love is masked by grief and betrayal. The spectre of drugs, Aids and death is ever present. The ideal of a united family mocks the reality of a manipulative old man's play things, as the promiscuous excitement of homosexual infatuation contrasts with a running war between former lovers.

Patrice Chereau made La Reine Margot, an historical drama of sublime brilliance. The subtlety he brings to the creation of this multi-layered ensemble matches the intimacy of the camerawork. There are no introductions, few clues as to who fits where in the jigsaw of the artist's life. Slowly relationships shift and slip into place. Behind the facade of good manners and the ritual of paying respects, other stories are bursting like boils - the pain of living, the anguish of dependency, the uncontrollable desire of the flesh.

Performances catch in the throat, almost too perfect to bear. Vincent Perez's transsexual is remarkable. Jean-Louis Trintignant, in the dual role of the dead man and his brother, reminds those who have forgotten the triumph of his early years that talent matures with age. Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, as the estranged partner of the artist's nephew, burns in the mind's eye with an intensity that blinds critical objectivity.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Those Who Love Me Can Take The Train packshot
Friends and family of dead artist open old wounds and start new relationships at funeral.
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Director: Patrice Chereau

Writer: Patrice Chereau, Danielle Thompson, Pierre Trividic

Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Pascal Greggory, Vincent Perez, Charles Berling, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi

Year: 1998

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France

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