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After Sex

New Yorker Video // Unrated // September 13, 2005
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Svet Atanasov | posted September 19, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Film:
At 40 and happily married in Paris Diane Clovier (Brigitte Rouan) is living a life where almost nothing exciting happens. At least as far as her intimate life is concerned. But when she encounters Emilio (Boris Terral), a man half her age, in an instant the safe and full of logic world Diane belongs to collapses with a bang. Nothing will ever be the same for Diane… her kids, her husband, even her once promising career as a book publisher will slowly fade away buried under an impossible affair where everything turns into ashes.

I suppose for many there is a special appeal in a relationship where a significantly older woman falls madly in love with a younger man. I believe however that our society still looks upon such a union with a rather suspicious eye. After all why would a woman and a man engage in a relationship where there is an age gap of more than fifteen years? The intuitive answer would be of course for sex and nothing more. Physical satisfaction is just about the only benefit that such a union would provide and the rest is nothing more than endless emotional issues which will ultimately result in a tragedy of enormous proportions. Well, I could not disagree more with such a viewpoint and anyone that might share it. I sense the spoiled odor of false morality under such oversimplified explanation.

In Post Coitum, Animal Tristea a.k.a After Sex however the main character Diane who is nearly twenty years older than her newly found lover and she falls victim of her own inexorable desire. She becomes so obsessed with Emilio that when he rejects her (he has to leave for a humanitarian mission in Africa) she turns insane. Diane succumbs to her strong emotions in a way she has never experienced before and unable to rationalize her feelings she collapses, both physically and emotionally. Emilio on the other side is disappointed and saddened that Diane is unable to outgrow the physical aspect of their relationship. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around, is it not Diane the one that should bring maturity and a sense of balance to the relationship?

I love films where the director poses intelligent questions that certainly require more than a single-worded answer. I like the fact that there was more grey in this film than safe black and white clichés Hollywood likes to offer. Intelligently made films do not offer "correct" answers where we are told what is right and what is not. They provoke you to consider "what if" and outgrow a mentality where you know that something is right because you were told so. After Sex is such a film. It forces you to reassess the tragedy Diane suffers and perhaps see beyond what is conveyed by the actions of the main characters.

For anyone claiming that After Sex is too grotesque perhaps even unrealistic film I would have to counter such a claim assuming that you have never been in a relationship with a significantly older/younger partner. What Brigitte Rouan brings to the screen as a director and an actor is a realistic portrait of a woman that fails to come to terms with her obsession for another human being. This is an enormously subtle film that if anything might feel a tad too honest for those uncomfortable with the age difference between the two lovers.

How Does the DVD Look? Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and enhanced for widescreen TV's After Sex appears to be PAL sourced as the image exhibits some visible "ghosting". Aside from that the overall quality of the print is rather good. I assume that New Yorker have simply ported the French PAL master and added up optional English subtitles. Quite disappointing indeed as the French master appears to have been in near pristine condition. Once again a poor and unfortunate treatment of a film deserving a solid transfer.

How Does the DVD Sound? Presented with a French Dolby Digital Surround track After Sex sounds fairly unimpressive. It would have been great if New Yorker would have added up an elaborate 5.1 track as there is some lovely classical music that supports the main feature.

Extras: The only extra present on this DVD is the original French trailer for After Sex and a tiny gallery of four trailers for other New Yorker releases.

Final Thoughts: I absolutely loved this film!! A sophisticated, mature, and very subtle look at a relationship where everything seems ill-fated from the very beginning After Sex is a film that I would highly recommend to those of you interested in intelligently made foreign cinema. In addition, the film successfully shows that regardless of the age difference between two human beings in love there is plenty that they could learn from each other. A film well worth a look!!
(Due to the rather unfortunate sourcing of this film I will have to give it a RENT IT mark, the film itself comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED).

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