The Witnesses

( 2 )

Overview

The early days of the AIDS crisis in France provides the backdrop for this powerful, life-affirming drama from writer and director André Téchiné. It's 1984, and Mehdi Sami Bouajila is a police detective who, unbeknownst to his wife Sarah Emmanuelle Béart, is a bisexual who has occasional trysts with men. Mehdi and Sarah are proud parents of a new baby, but to Mehdi's chagrin, Sarah doesn't seem the least bit concerned about her responsibilities as a mom. Manu Johan Libereau is a handsome young man who shares a ...
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Overview

The early days of the AIDS crisis in France provides the backdrop for this powerful, life-affirming drama from writer and director André Téchiné. It's 1984, and Mehdi Sami Bouajila is a police detective who, unbeknownst to his wife Sarah Emmanuelle Béart, is a bisexual who has occasional trysts with men. Mehdi and Sarah are proud parents of a new baby, but to Mehdi's chagrin, Sarah doesn't seem the least bit concerned about her responsibilities as a mom. Manu Johan Libereau is a handsome young man who shares a flat with his sister Julie Julie Depardieu, who is struggling to make a career as an opera singer. And Adrien Michel Blanc is a middle-aged doctor and close friend of Sarah who occasionally picks up younger men in the park, and nearly seduces Manu one evening. Adrien joins Sarah and Mehdi for an idyllic weekend at the beach, where Manu once again crosses his path; however, Manu also meets Mehdi when he saves the detective from drowning, and the two soon become lovers. Several months later, Manu has discovered he's contracted a strange and deadly new disease doctors are calling AIDS, which has a dramatic impact on many of the people he knows. Mehdi has confessed his infidelity to Sarah, and they wait to find out if they also have AIDS, while Adrien is devoting most of his days to treating Manu and other young men who are wasting away under the effects of the illness, and Julie helps to care for her dying brother. The Witnesses aka Les Témoins received its premiere at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/24/2008
  • UPC: 712267272426
  • Original Release: 2007
  • Rating:

  • Source: Strand Home Video
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Subtitled / Colorized
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound
  • Time: 1:52:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 47,524

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michel Blanc Adrien
Emmanuelle Béart Sarah
Sami Bouajila Mehdi
Julie Depardieu Julie
Johan Libereau Manu
Constance Dolle
Lorenzo Balducci Steve
Alain Cauchi Chief of Police
Elouan Besseyre DesHorts Baby 1
Mayeul Besseyre DesHorts Baby 1
Michèle Moretti
Amaël Ibarguen Baby 1
Oscar Aima Baby 2
Vladimir Alexinsky Baby 3
Raphaeline Goupilleau Manu and Julie's Mother
Bertrand Soulier Doctor 1
Jacques Nolot Hotel Manager
Xavier Beauvois Sarah's Publisher
David Barbas Mehdi's Colleague
Satya Dusaugey Young Man in Park
Marie Blanchet Nurse
Jean-Marie Besset Operating Theatre Assistant
Maïa Simon Sarah's Mother
Gilbert Désveaux Doctor 2
Technical Credits
André Téchiné Director, Screenwriter
Michele Abbe Art Director, Production Designer
Laurent Balandras Musical Direction/Supervision
Dominique Colladant Makeup Special Effects
Yvon Crenn Production Manager
Martine Giordano Editor
Laurent Guyot Screenwriter
Julien Hirsch Cinematographer
Cyril Holtz Sound Mixer
Jean-Paul Mugel Sound/Sound Designer
Daniela Romano Musical Direction/Supervision
Said Ben Said Producer
Saïd Ben Saïd Producer
Philippe Sarde Score Composer
Claire Tong Costumes/Costume Designer
Francis Wargnier Sound Editor
Khadija Zeggai Costumes/Costume Designer
Viviane Zingg Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    Les Témoins (The Witnesses) is another fine artwork by French director André Téchiné that continues to examine relationships in times of stress and through areas of rough travel. As written by Téchiné, Laurent Guyot, and Viviane Zingg this film is a love story and a social commentary on life in 1984 when AIDS raised its ugly head and disrupted lives, hopes and relationships. What could have been a heavy-handed woeful tale is instead a story about ordinary people and how the spectre of the then 'new disease' affected a small group of friends. In the intimacy of the story there is an opportunity to reflect and to see more clearly the atmosphere of that time in history. Sarah (Emmanuelle Béart) is a writer of children's books married to Mehdi (Sami Bouajila), a member of the Paris police force vice squad. They have an open marriage and have just given birth to a baby boy - a factor that disrupts their separate lives while conflicting their married life. Sarah has a physician friend Adrien (Michel Blanc, so memorable in his role in 'Monsieur Hire') who is gay, and while he is older, he still longs for the company of young men. Adrien meets the young catering student Manu (Johan Libéreau), a lad whose sexual appetite is satisfied by trysts in parks, back rooms of bars, etc. Manu and his opera singer sister Julie (Julie Depardieu) live modestly in a sleazy hotel cum brothel that is under surveillance by Mehdi. Adrien and Manu strike up a friendship and are invited to join Sarah and Mehdi to Sarah's mother's cabin by the sea and while there a relationship between Manu and Mehdi begins, one that will become an affair in secret. A strange disease comes to public attention and it is Adrien who is in charge of the investigation of the disease now called AIDS. Though Adrien's ties with Manu have become platonic while Manu see Mehdi daily, Adrien is the first to notice lesions on Manu, lesions that are the hallmark of AIDS. How this discovery affects the lives of each of the characters we have met (the 'witnesses' to a very important time in our history) serves as the crux of the story - part tragedy and part a torch of resilience the weaves the story to a close in an honest, touching but never maudlin manner. The acting is consistently excellent, the sort of ensemble acting that keeps the focus on the message of the film rather than on individual attention to characters. The movie is beautifully photographed by Julien Hirsch and the musical score by Philippe Sarde wisely blends excerpts from Vivaldi and Mozart with original music that recalls the 1980s. This is yet another triumph for André Téchiné - a film that deserves the widest possible audience. Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews