Who You Think I Am

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Felicity Chaplin Monday, 29 July 2019
Published in ABR Arts

Best described as a psychological thriller in the spirit of Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock, Who You Think I Am (Celle que vous croyez) by French director Safy Nebbou (Dumas, The Forests of Siberia) is a film about the lie at the heart of every truth, about how we deceive in order to gain love, and about the problem of desire for those who have been deemed undesirable. Adapted from Camille Laurens’s 2017 novel of the same name and co-scripted by Julie Peyr, best known for her collaborations with director Arnaud Desplechin, the film stars Juliette Binoche as Claire, a professor of literature at an unnamed Parisian university.

Claire is in her fifties, has two children from a recently defunct marriage, and chooses younger men for her love interests. When we first meet Claire, she is dating Ludo (Guillaume Gouix), but after his cool post-coital treatment of her, they break up. Obsessed with social media, which she describes as both ‘the wreck and the life raft’, Claire begins to cyberstalk Ludo’s young assistant, Alex (François Civil), presumably as payback for Ludo’s rejection of her. Posing as a much younger (and, at least in the eyes of her target, more desirable) woman, Claire constructs a fake Facebook profile, using images she has presumably sourced from the internet. Things rapidly get out of hand and the film moves steadily and unnervingly towards its double-take climax. All this is told, by way of framing, by Claire to her psychoanalyst, a woman Claire’s age who herself becomes psychologically and emotionally affected by Claire’s story while maintaining sufficient professional distance to function as both Claire’s moral mirror and silent confidant.

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Published in ABR Arts
Felicity Chaplin

Felicity Chaplin

Felicity Chaplin is a Scholarly Teaching Fellow in French Studies at Monash University. She also teaches European cinema at the Monash Prato Centre in Italy. Her book, La Parisienne in cinema: Between art and life (2017), is published by Manchester University Press. Her work appears in The Australian Journal of French Studies, Colloquy, Lola, Metro, Screening the Past, and Senses of Cinema.  She is currently working on a monograph on Anglo-French actor Charlotte Gainsbourg.

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