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JUSTOCOEUR

Canada / France, 1980 (MIFF 1981, New Directors)

Director: Mary Stephen

Three friends — Paul, a conservative intellectual: Selena, a dancer who specialises in African dance: and Gabriel, an artist who manages to move with ease between the centres of their different worlds Paul maintains an ambiguous friendship with Gabriel, who goes through a series of homosexual affairs. For Selena, emotions become difficult to handle when she finds herself involved with both men. in the contradictory position of being in the centre and on the outside.

Mary Stephen was born in Hong Kong, emigrated to Canada and has now made two features on 1 6mm in France. Justocoeur is an intriguing and softly-grained look at a woman's role in a bizarre menage-a-trois. Its low-budget origins are apparent in some of its editing and sound synchronization, but its very original sensual quality, conveyed through the texture of the images, is most effective.

"Mary Stephen co-operated with her handsome cast on the script, and has created something sensual rather than sexual from a story of two men and a woman locked into friendship but interchangeably locking each other out . . .The slow, quiet drama of their tensions has something of ballet in its character."

Julie Davidson The Scotsman

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