Russian Dolls


Directed by: Cedric Klapisch
Written by:Cedric Klapisch
Starring: Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, Audrey Tautou, Cecile De France, Kevin Bishop
Released: December 26, 2005
Grade: A-

One of my favourite foreign language films of 2003 was The Spanish Apartment.  I saw it first at the Brisbane International Film Festival (where it finished first in the audience vote) and had to see it again when it was released to the public in cinemas.  If you haven’t seen the film, it was the story of a 25-year-old French student who went to Spain to study for a year.  He stayed in an apartment with five other students who each came from a different country.  It was a great advertisement for anyone who has thought of working or studying overseas.  Some great times can be had.

Russian Dolls is the sequel to The Spanish Apartment and catches up with the housemates five years later.  They are in Russia for the wedding of William (Bishop), the funny yet politically incorrect brother of Wendy (Reilly).  William is marrying a Russian ballet dancer who he met whilst working backstage at a show.

The focus is not on William though but rather our star from the first film, Xavier (Duris), and his trials and tribulations with the female race.  Now working as a writer, Xavier has fine-tuned his craft at seducing beautiful women but is yet to find a woman he loves.

The opening is slow and messy but things improve greatly with the re-introduction of Wendy.  Roman Duris (The Beat My Heart Skipped) and Kelly Reilly (Mrs Henderson Presents) share some wonderful conversations on life, love and romance.  These characters are far more interesting than those we see in the standard romantic dramas from the States.  Writer-director Cedric Klapisch has done it again.

Just like The Spanish Apartment, a variety of languages are spoken.  Some scenes are in English but the remainder are in Russian, French, Spanish or Italian.  You might also see a few familiar tourist sights with the film spread across England, France and Russia.  It all adds up to a great example of “world cinema”.

If you’ve seen and loved The Spanish Apartment, this is one film I won’t have to convince you to see.  If you never had the chance to see it, I’d recommend you rent it over the Christmas holidays and then get to the cinemas to see this entertainingly meaningful follow-up.