Fearless performer Béatrice Dalle, who made her screen debut at age 21 as the self-mutilating title character in Betty Blue (1986), has, in the past decade, played a cannibal, the Queen of the Northern Hemisphere, and a fetus-snatcher. As Nadia in writer-director Patric Chiha’s bold first feature, Domain, Dalle might have a more cerebral profession—a mathematician who specializes in Gödel—but her capacity for destruction, both of herself and others via bottomless glasses of white wine, remains just as infinite. “Words are disorder,” the magnetic intellectual announces—one of the many insights that draw her 17-year-old nephew, Pierre, to her. Forgoing peers his own age, Pierre joins his impeccably stylish aunt for Saturday strolls in the park; at nightclubs where, in the film’s best set piece, the mixed gay-straight crowd dances with dreamlike slowness; and at cafés where Nadia’s alcoholism unleashes a lacerating tongue. As his aunt’s dissipation eclipses her charm, Pierre starts to distance himself from her, finally responding to the blond, bearded guy who’s been eyeing him for weeks. Dalle unravels inexorably but with decadent dignity, and Chiha’s singular film never relies on cliché in its examination of illness, disappointment, and abandonment.
“A formidable screen presence who suggests a sexy, gap-toothed hybrid of Sade and Fran Drescher, Ms. Dalle exudes a tortured erotic gravitas.”
Stephen Holden, The New York Times.
Nadia: Béatrice Dalle
Pierre: Isaïe Sultan
Samir: Alain Libolt
John: Raphaël Bouvet
Barbara: Sylvia Rohrer
LANGUAGE French, German, English
RUNNING TIME 110’
PRODUCTION Austria, France, 2010
RATING Not Rated
FORMAT(S) Digibeta, DVD