Dir: Laetitia Masson. France. 1999. 105mins.
Prod co: Lilo Films. Int'l sales: Flach Pyramide International (33 1 42 96 02 20). Prod: Alain Sarde. Exec prod: Nicolas Daguet. Co-prod: Christine Gozlan. Scr: Masson. DoP: Antoine Heberle. Prod des: Arnaud de Moleron. Ed: Ailo Auguste. Music: John Cale. Main cast: Sandrine Kiberlain, Johnny Halliday, Jean-Francois Stevenin, Aurore Clement, Julian Sands, Julie Depardieu.
Laetitia Masson's third film charts the dreamlike romantic odyssey of a young French woman Gabrielle (fetchingly played by Sandrine Kiberlain) who travels from a psychiatric clinic in Normandy to the US, where she dreams of finding her heart's desire. Ending up in Memphis, home of her musical idol, Elvis Presley, she meets and falls in love with ageing rock star Lennox (a gift for grizzled crooner Johnny Halliday), who is reduced to belting out Presley classics to half-empty hotel lounges.
Gabrielle clearly views the world through rose-tinted spectacles but perhaps some of her wanderings are merely through her own mind and are no more than encounters or dreams recounted to a psychiatrist, who tells her that 'humans are sociable beings who need to feel loved in order to feel they exist'.
The narrative is puzzling and it's easy to lose hold of what few plot threads there are. Although it is strikingly photographed and employs a palette of beautifully crisp colours, it remains frustratingly confusing - it is never clear if Gabrielle's mother (Aurore Clement) and daughter (Salome Stevenin) are real characters or different manifestations of Gabrielle herself.
Thanks to Masson's reputation - A Vendre and En Avoir (Ou Pas) both travelled extensively - Love Me will find festival exposure but its uncompromising narrative style is unlikely to make it so attractive to foreign buyers.