Women On Film – “I’ve Loved You So Long” on DVD – Jennifer Merin reviews

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This moving French film about the reunion of two sisters long separated by circumstances and guilt is must-see cinema.

Juliette Fontaine, an ex-doctor is released from prison after 15 years of incarceration for an unspeakable crime. With nowhere else to go, she moves in with her sister Lea, and her family. There are painful confrontations, but in reconnecting with each other, the sisters restore each other.

Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein are magnificent as Juliette and Lea.

Filmmaker Philippe Claudel’s script is flawless, his superb direction captures the richly nuanced nature of his characters and their complex problems. Claudel’s contemplative pacing so camoulages inherent tensions that you don’t realize you’ve been gripping the edge of your seat and holding your breath until you get to the film’s emotional climax.

The DVD release gives audiences outside the art house circle a chance to see this great film. It also provides two excellent extras: a number of deleted scenes with Claudel commenting on them gives you insight into his directorial style, and the English language version featuring Kristin Scott Thomas’ voice gives you the opportunity to forego subtitles if you choose to do so. The DVD streets March 3.

Meanwhile, read full reviews by AWFJ members Claudia Puig and Susan Granger and see which seven AWFJ members included “I’ve Loved You So Long” on their Top Ten Lists.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).