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You Will Be Mine (2009)

Film Movement // Unrated // July 24, 2018
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Tyler Foster | posted September 21, 2018 | E-mail the Author
Marie (Judith Davis) is looking forward to her first semester at a prestigious music conservatory, where she will learn to hone her piano skills with some of the best mentors in France. To save money, she has arranged to move in with her childhood best friend Emma (Isild Le Besco), who has a spacious studio apartment near the school, and who has lived alone since her father passed away. It seems like a perfect arrangement, until it becomes clear that Emma has sexual feelings for Marie that border on psychotic, and Marie quickly finds herself trying to hide from Emma, escaping first with her classmate boyfriend Sami (Johan Libereau), and then back home for a spell, only for Emma to lure Marie back into her psychological and emotional spider web.

You Will Be Mine is a psychosexual thriller with some interesting ideas lingering at the fringes, but one which fails to buck the basic genre trappings to become something more interesting. The DVD cover has a pull quote that references Single White Female, which is an interesting point of reference. Single White Female could potentially be criticized along feminist lines, that it is arguably a gay panic movie, or that it more specifically paints homosexuality as akin to psychosis, that it is a film by a male filmmaker that depicts women as crazy and emotionally unstable, etc. One of the intriguing aspects of You Will Be Mine is that it was written and directed by a woman, Sophie Laloy, but while Laloy does interesting things with gaze, and explores sexuality with a bit more interest, the film fails to break new ground.

The intriguing (but unfulfilled) thread about sexuality Marie's potential attraction to Emma. Although Emma is the aggressor in the relationship, Laloy opens the film having Marie observe Emma, watching her eyes, her lips, seemingly caught up in some sort of erotic allure. One night, after Marie is harassed by a drunk man in a club, the women make out and almost have sex, but Marie stops it. She appears to throw herself at Sami shortly thereafter, and late in the film, Emma calls Marie's resistance homophobic. It is clear that there is nothing deeper in Marie and Sami's relationship that basic sexual attraction, which seems to open the movie up to the interpretation that Marie is at least bisexual. In scenes where Marie is receiving the attention of men (with the exception of Sami), they leer and loom ominously, surrounding her or filling the frame. At the same time, there is never any moment where Emma's manipulation of Marie is not obvious, and perhaps Laloy felt having an emotionally and psychologically abusive person be the catalyst for Marie confronting her sexuality was too tricky a tightrope to walk.

Another intriguing aspect of the film is Marie's sympathy for Emma. During a fight, Sami demands to know why Marie doesn't just leave, and Marie struggles to find an answer. Is she afraid that Emma might harm herself if she goes? Emma has quite a bit of manipulative power, and can show up on Marie's campus and confront her whenever she wishes, but France is large enough and there are enough people in her school that Marie ought to have the ability to get out, get to safety. It is clear that she chooses not to, especially after she moves back home and then Emma convinces her to return to the apartment and finish out the semester. This thread is somewhat entangled in the question of Marie's sexuality, or perhaps in the well-documented notion that women are taught to be nice, to avoid confrontations, to sympathize. The film doubles down near the end, with Marie choosing a course of action that openly protects Emma, but that's the last time Laloy touches on the idea before returning to standard thriller mechanics.

Performances from Davis (who resembles a young Liv Tyler, and has the same ability to oscillate from delicate to intimidating) and Le Besco (Maiwenn's sister, perhaps more soap-opera obvious in her manipulations, but in a way that seems as if it may be intentional on the part of both Le Besco and Laloy) are enough to keep the movie basically engaging, and Laloy's direction has some intriguing moments, including the aforementioned heavy gaze when Marie is first living with Emma, and a scene where Laloy uses the piano as a visual metaphor for masturbation. Yet Laloy's screenplay remains a weak link in the chain, one full of side threads and thematic ideas that simply don't come to fruition. Like Emma's pursuit of Marie, satisfaction is frustratingly out of reach.

You Will Be Mine gets extremely cursory DVD treatment. The front cover is a still from the film rather than a design, perhaps chosen because at a glance it looks as if the characters are both nude. The layout of the overall sleeve appears to follow a pretty standard template, and there is a booklet advertising other Film Movement releases. The entire package comes in a cheap Amaray case, and the art feels as if it has been laser printed, with a matte finish rather than semi-glossy.

The Video and Audio
Oof. There was a time when Film Movement DVDs were fairly consistent, perhaps back when the company was purely a subscription DVD service, but recently the company appears to have adopted tiered levels of quality. Their recent Sissi trilogy Blu-ray and DVD releases were fairly polished and stylish, and their Oh Lucy! Blu-ray was pretty much what anyone would expect for a new film being released on home video. Yet, the DVD release of My Art and You Will Be Mine feel closer to MOD releases. They are lacking the short film that used to be customary for Film Movement, and instead feature little to no bonus content.

To make matters worse, You Will Be Mine has been "blessed" with an especially underwhelming presentation, starting with a sort of disastrous 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen video transfer. Even someone unfamiliar with what to look for in a bad DVD transfer will probably pick up on a subtle level of digital softness here, even with colors and clarity being basically watchable. However, those with even the slightest awareness of compression artifacts will be able to see them throughout this noisy presentation, with the blocky clumps even creating mild chroma noise in murky shadows or cloudy skies. Whether or not there are other issues is beside the point: despite no other significant content on the disc to take up space, there is not a frame of the film that isn't at least slightly plagued with these ugly artifacts. Right from the beginning, when the opening credits start a few seconds in, you can see the inconsistency of the color within the letters, and the overall chunkiness of the fine text on the screen. As an additional bummer, the English subtitles are burned in, a practice that should've been rendered obsolete a decade ago.

Sound is a perfectly unremarkable French Dolby Digital 2.0 track. There is not much to say about it, other than that it gets the job done, which is arguably an improvement on the ugly video. Despite being a musical film, You Will Be Mine is almost exclusively about dialogue, and features little to no aural manipulation. Straightforward.

The Extras

You Will Be Mine is an underwhelming film with an underwhelming DVD release. In theory, I suppose having tiers of importance when it comes to what gets released is a valuable concept, because it allows Film Movement to put out a ton of quickie releases just to get them into the North American market. However, as the adage goes, if you're gonna do something, do it right. Even if the film was great, the video transfer would be a dealbreaker. Skip it.

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