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Les Olympiades has an enticing aesthetic, yet it is never quite clear what message director Jacques Audiard wants to convey.

Parts of Les Olympiades recall the work of Robert Altman, as the film follows the lives of several people within Paris' 13th district, intersecting at various points to reveal a bigger story about love, longing and connection. But Jacques Audiard - despite his many merits as a director- is no Robert Altman.

While the first segment of Les Olympiades, zooming in on housemates engaging in an ill-defined sexual relationship, sets up an intriguing narrative, thanks in part to the excellent performances of Lucie Zhang and Makita Zamba, once the picture detours to a far less exciting story involving a woman mistaken for an online porn star, your attention starts to waver and the film never fully recovers from it.

Shot in beautiful black and white, Les Olympiades has an enticing aesthetic to be sure, yet it is never quite clear what message Audiard wants to convey beyond the fact that in order to find a purpose in life the journey is as important as the destination. Which is hardly a novel approach, wouldn't you agree?

release: 2021

director: Jacques Audiard

starring: Lucie Zhang, Makita Samba, Noémie Merlant, Jehnny Beth


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