Just Anybody


Just Anybody was my introduction to the films of Jacques Doillon, and it didn’t make me want to examine his back catalogue.

For me, the only aspect of the film that kept me enthralled was the central performance by Clémentine Beaugrand.Just Anybody (Le Premier venu) She delivers a stunningly realistic portrayal of the confounding Camille, innocently thrown from one situation to another, yet at the same time completely in control. Though taller than most of the men orbiting her in the film, she also has a meek and serene quality that is quite entrancing. Her behaviour, however, made no sense to me whatsoever.

The audience seems to be joining Camille’s tale a little late – the beginning doesn’t feel like the start of anything, rather than a continuation of a story in progress. Apparently slacker Costa (Gérald Thomassin) just tried (or maybe succeeded) in raping Camille, and we join them the morning after. Despite this, and with Costa complaining about women who change their minds at the last moment (like it’s some sort of excuse), Camille embarks on a quest of sorts to put Costa’s broken life back on track.

Why she does this is a mystery to me, and more than a little frustrating. Other men enter and exit the film, apparently all wanting something from Camille, but her motives are mysterious at best and annoyingly intangible at worst. It seems that she always has the power, though is often scared when she finds herself in over her head, more than once physically threatened.

The film is similar to The Child (L’Enfant), insofar as the score is almost non-existent, and events unfold in a laidback fashion. This isn’t true realism, however, as much of what happens is frankly unbelievable, and the dialogue seems to belong on a stage.

Having not seen any of Doillon’s previous work, I can’t say whether fans will enjoy his newest offering. This film is unlikely to please casual cinemagoers, that’s for sure, and will test the patience of even the most tolerant of cinema buffs.

Rating: 2 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 27th July 2008
Hoopla Factor: 2 stars

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