Sur Mes Lèvres (2001)

Il va lui apprendre les mauvaises manières... Elle lui apprendra les bonnes.

Original Title : Sur mes lèvres
Director : Jacques Audiard
Writer : Jacques Audiard
Tonino Benacquista
Genre : Crime
Country : France
Language : French
Producer : Philippe Carcassonne , Jean-Louis Livi , Bernard Marescot , Alix Raynaud
Music : Alexandre Desplat
Photography : Mathieu Vadepied
MPAA Rating : Rated R for language, violence and some sexual content.
IMDB ID : 0274117
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poster for "Sur Mes Lèvres" by Jacques Audiard (2001)
Sur Mes Lèvres (2001) - Jacques Audiard


Vincent Cassel Paul
Emmanuelle Devos Carla
Olivier Gourmet Marchand
Olivier Perrier Masson
Olivia Bonamy Annie
Bernard Alane Morel
Céline Samie Josie
Pierre Diot Keller
François Loriquet Jean-François
Serge Boutleroff Mammouth
David Saracino Richard Carambo
Christophe Van de Velde Louis Carambo (as Christophe Vandevelde
Bô Gaultier de Kermoal Le Barman
Loïc Le Page Quentin
Nathalie Lacroix L'Employée ANPE
Laurent Valo Le jeune sourd du café
Christiane Cohendy Mathilde
Isabelle Caubère Jeanne
Chloé Mons Boubou (as Chloë Mons
Patrick Steltzer Le Haleur
Philippe Wintousky Le chef de chantier
Gladys Gambie Danseuse no. 1
Maurine Nicot Danseuse no. 2
Keena Danseuse no. 3


Young secretary Carla is a long-time employee of a property development company. Loyal and hardworking, first to arrive and last to leave, Carla is beginning to chafe at the limitations of her career and is looking to move up. But as a 35-five-year-old woman with a hearing deficiency, she is not sure how to climb out of her humdrum life, though she is confident in her own abilities. Into her life comes Paul Angeli, a new trainee she decides to hire. Paul is 25 years old and completely unskilled, but Carla covers for him when the need arises because of his other qualities - he's a thief, fresh out of jail and very good-looking. It's a case of good meeting bad.


Visual Narrative Spoilers herein. The point is always how to tell stories through the eye and not the ear, through images rather than dialog. Jacques Audiard places that notion in both the manner of telling this story and the story itself. The framing is subtle. On the viewers' side, our surrogate is the parole officer whose job it is to spy on Paul. That role as spy would shift to Carla as the story moves and the camera shifts among watching her, giving her POV or describing what she knows or may know. The oft-cited reference to `Rear Window' is not apt. That camera was anchored. that camera was architecturally motivated, not personally. That camera never shifted into a character's mind. But the attention to the parole officer is what makes this particularly intelligent. His own angst anchors the film, which is to remind us that the motivation behind every shot in the film is shared between us and what we see. To underscore, the camera is unsteady, uses (apparently) available light, is sometimes fuzzily irised. That irising and blurring is as likely to reflect some perceptual confusion or ourselves as it is by Carla or Paul. A similar, more obvious `blurring' is managed with the hearing aids. On the other side of the framing is an attempted rape. This scene is filmed realistically, unlike everything else which moves through a genre-world. I am increasingly aware of the power of framing devices to define our experience, and this is done well. As with many intimate films, viewers credit the actors. This is a big mistake in my view. They are good enough here, but the power comes from the eye and the manipulation of the mind. Cassel is an automatic actor, but then he plays an automatic character. Emmanuelle Devos knows how to intercourse with the camera. She responds as much to the movement of the camera as to movement within the `official' action. Her eyes. Follow her eyes. Ted's Rating -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.