False Confessions

Marivaux’s 18th-century farce Les Fausses Confidences tells the tale of a penniless lawyer who gets hired as personal assistant to a wealthy older woman he has loved from afar, then becomes embroiled in a romantic intrigue involving one of her female servants. Directors Luc Bondy and Marie-Louise Bischofberger shot this modern-dress adaptation in and around the historic Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe in Paris, and they respect the play’s theatrical conventions: characters gesture broadly, deliver asides to the audience, and spy on one another from not-so-hidden places. Onscreen these devices seem stagey and awkward, and the pacing is slow and clunky. The cast—which includes Isabelle Huppert, Louis Garrel, and Bulle Ogier—deliver Marivaux’s dialogue with incongruous subtlety. In French with subtitles.