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Five years after their year together in Barcelona (in The Spanish Apartment), the friends Xavier (Romain Duris), William (Kevin Bishop), Wendy (Kelly Reilly), Martine (Audrey Tatou) and Isabelle (Cecile de France) reunite for a wedding in St Petersburg, their carefree days behind them, and now close to thirty. Xavier is a struggling writer who dreams of having the perfect career and the perfect woman. He is still in touch with his ex-girlfriend Martine, but is living with Isabelle, now a successful gay stockbroker. When he has to find a British writer to work with him, he goes to live and work with Wendy in London. Dividing his time between London and Paris, where he is ghostwriting the memoirs of a sexy and spoilt 24 year old supermodel, Celia (Lucy Gordon), Xavier struggles with his attraction to both women, slowly realizing he must grow up.

Review by Louise Keller:
Universal in its theme, Russian Dolls is an exhilarating film about the mysteries of love. The vibrant characters that first met in Cedric Klapisch's The Spanish Apartment in 2002, when they shared an apartment in Barcelona, come together again. This time, the film is set in Paris, London and Moscow, and we get a great sense of place in each. Life isn't going to plan for Xavier (Romain Duris), who still has the stars of idealism imprinted in his mind. He wants to write a novel, but is stuck writing scripts for TV soaps, and his notion of finding the perfect woman is fast becoming like a vinyl that keeps getting stuck.

It's a rich and enticing story beautifully realised with an emotionally pertinent soundtrack and a dense sense of romanticism, fantasy and good humour. We shed some tears and feel the elation as relationships start, end and springboard into a different dimension. Ever charismatic, enigmatic Duris holds our attention as he struggles with the ups and downs of work, life and his relationships. There's his ex-girlfriend Martine (Audrey Tautou), the smiling shop assistant Kassia (Aïssa Maïga), lesbian Isabelle (Cecile Le France), the leggy Paris model Celia (Lucy Gordon) and the English scriptwriter Wendy (Kelly Reilly). Passion, lies and devotion all spiral like an emotional cyclone.

The relevance of the film's title is revealed as Xavier battles with his laptop in a train, as he jots down notes depicting his life and thoughts. It's a lovely moment, when all the pieces start to fit, as the mix of flashbacks, recollections and collection of encounters all collide.

Russian Dolls is an involving and uplifting encounter. Nothing is more powerful than love, transcending time and countries. 'There was no cure, and there is no cure' goes the song..... such is the nature of love.

Published June 22, 2006

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(France/UK, 2005)

Les Poupées russes

CAST: Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, Audrey Tautou, Cécile De France, Kevin Bishop, Evguenya Obraztsova, Irene Montala, Gary Love, Lucy Gordon, Aissa Maiga

PRODUCER: Matthew Justice, Bruno Levy

DIRECTOR: Cédric Klapisch

SCRIPT: Cédric Klapisch


MUSIC: Loic Dury, Laurent Levesque


RUNNING TIME: 125 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2005 (special advance screenings weekend of December 15 and December 22.



DVD DISTRIBUTOR: June 21, 2006

DVD RELEASE: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

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