While we’re waiting for the breakout films of this year’s Cannes Film Festival to make their way over to theaters — in many cases, via the fall festival circuit — we still have some unfinished business from Cannes 2012. Opening in limited release tomorrow is French period melodrama “Thérèse” (at different points dubbed “Thérèse Dequeyroux” or “Thérèse D”), which was the Closing Night film of last year’s fest.
Films in that slot at Cannes tend to come and go rather quietly — not least since half the Croisette crowd has packed up and left by the time they premiere — but “Thérèse” was one of the festival’s more handsome closers in recent years. The final film by the late, celebrated auteur Claude Miller, whose greatest films include 2001’s “Betty Fisher and Other Stories” and 1998’s Cannes Jury Prize winner “Class Trip,” it’s a fresh adaptation of a 1927 novel by Nobel laureate François Mauriac that was previously filmed by Georges Franju in 1962 — interestingly enough, with recent Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva in the title role.
This time round, it’s Audrey Tautou playing the lonely, restless trophy wife who resorts to devious measures to escape her provincial dullard of a husband (Gilles Lellouche), and her performance may come as a surprise to those who still think of the “Amélie” actress as the poster girl for gamine Gallic perkiness. It’s one of her hardest, most subdued turns, in a film that plays its melodrama in a surprisingly low key — but it’s intelligent, elegantly mounted art house fare, and a dignified sign-off for Miller’s career. (He passed away a month before the film’s Cannes premiere.)
If you think that sounds up your alley, we’re pleased to present this exclusive clip from the film, which offers a suitable taste of its well-appointed French charms — and I’m not just talking about Tautou looking fetching in a cloche hat. Check it out above, and tell us what you think.