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The Beat That My Heart Skipped

De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté 

Year: 2005 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Beat That My Heart Skipped

Director: Jacques Audiard

Starring: Romain Duris, Niels Arestrup, Jonathan Zaccaï, Gilles Cohen

"They don't make 'em, never mind remake 'em, a whole lot better than this." -- Rick Kisonak, FILM THREAT

From acclaimed French director Jacques Audiard comes his passionate remake of the 1978 film, "Fingers", moved from New York to Paris, in which smouldering Duris gives an outstanding performance as Tom Seyre, a low-life real-estate broker approaching 30 and occasionally working as a violent rent collector for his father, often with the liberal use of a baseball bat. His life revolves around thuggish actions but in a chance encounter with his late concert pianist mother's manager he is offered an audition, "when he is ready". This leads him to seek the help of an accomplished pianist Miao Lin, who has just arrived in Paris, and try to regain an affinity with the piano he hasn't played for years, all the time still attempting to maintain his violent lifestyle.

The best thing about this film is undoubtedly Duris' performance, with his pent-up anger reminiscent of an early De Niro, and delivering a performance much more impressive as a man walking on the edge of two lives than Harvey Keitel's in the same role in "Fingers". The rest of the cast support him well, especially the fabulous Niels Arestrup as his crooked but irresistible father.

This is a gem of a film, one of those astounding French films that comes here and makes a big splash. The director has done an incredible job of fleshing out and making much more believable characters, turning the original idea into a fascinating character study. As with most piano-related films the soundtrack is beautiful and inspiring but if you think you're in for another feel-good factor lost soul finds himself and comes good, then you're in for a surprise.

Hannah Upton

P.S. If you like this, check out "Read My Lips" by the same director

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Screenings of this film:

2005/2006 Summer Term (35mm)