If there have been more boring recent films than Benoît Jacquot’s “Last Love,” (“Dernier Amour” in the French original) none readily comes to mind. Though one must admit that it’s a feat in itself to have such rich material to deal with and to turn it into a yawn-inducing couple of hours. The last fling of the maestro of love himself, Giacomo Casanova, (and, if the script based on the Venetian adventurer’s own written story of his life gives an accurate countdown of amorous pursuits, the only time he loses his heart to a woman,) takes place in London, in a chiaroscuro more oscuro than chiaro, leaving the viewer to try to make out the on-screen action or lack thereof.
This story taking place in the enlightenment century has us wondering whether turning on our iPhone flashlight would help us to try and guess what is happening onscreen, including during a barely-candlelit ball in a grand ballroom. Also unfathomable is the filmmaker’s premise that an aging, expressionless Vincent Lindon as miscast as Casanova as can be and a Stacy Martin who, though endowed with the most sublime body ever to stride the earth and no prude when it comes to flaunting it, makes not the least impression as a youthful prostitute, would make for a plausible couple. If, to pass the time slowed down to an agonizing trickle, the viewer searches for a spark of sensuality or attraction between the two which would explain the extreme infatuation of the older man or the reason why the young lady, quick to undress and spring into action with any passing male refuses to indulge Casanova, don’t bother—there is none. Just as well, there are enough great movies gracing Parisian screens as of this writing for the viewer not to waste any more time on “Last Love.”
Benoit Jacquot is a prolific filmmaker with 48 features and TV films to his credit. He was president of the jury at the entrance examination of La Fémis (France’s national film school) in 2003 and, in 2005, he was a member of the jury at the 58th Cannes Film Festival.
No U.S. date as of this writing. We will update this space if and when the film is released here.