The Great Pretender

Self-delusion is the principal subject of this short, acerbic comedy by Nathan Silver (Stinking Heaven), which centers on the production of an autobiographical stage play. The author (Maëlle Poésy-Guichard) is a young French woman who’s using the play to work through her feelings about her boorish ex-boyfriend (Linas Phillips); the stars (Keith Poulson, Esther Garrel) are a couple of well-intentioned narcissists looking for love in all the wrong places. Each of the four characters takes a turn narrating the story, and Silver, directing a script by Jack Dunphy, mines plenty of humor from the rift between how these people behave and how they see themselves. Garrel gives a standout performance as the most naive of the bunch; she’s so winning in the role that you almost forgive her character for the lies she tells herself. Sean Price-Williams’s dreamy cinematography is another asset, conjuring up a romantic mood that provides ironic counterpoint to the bitter comedy.