Quick Film Guide – The Apartment (Gilles Mimouni, 1996)

L’Appartament
Directed by Gilles Mimouni
France, Spain, Italy

Gilles Mimouni’s beautifully complex directorial debut, The Apartment, is also his only directorial effort to date. Its story is that of a ladies man about to get married, who catches a glimpse of his former girlfriend Lisa, the one who got away. A while later, he meets a woman who bears a close resemblance to his lost love and starts an affair with her, while still desperately seeking Lisa.

The Apartment is a seductive film shot with great awareness and visual confidence. It explores such themes as identity, love, addiction and obsession, unafraid to get its hands dirty as it goes down the rabbit hole. The movie also presents a perfect blending of cinematic tradition with modernity. While the elements of mystery and romance evoke film noirs of old, the style, editing and sophisticated narrative structure all appear comfortably rooted in its time and covey a feeling of frenzy that corresponds with the obsessive pursuit of its protagonist.

Despite the many twists and turns of the plot, Mimouni’s story feels symmetrical and never overbearingly confusing – at least not without reason. Lead actors Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci share deep chemistry that not only lights up the steamy scenes on fire but also adds feverish energy.

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