Heat of Desire (1981)

heat of desire

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Obsessed over a woman.

Serge (Patrick Dewaere) is a college professor ready to take his wife Nicole (Nicole Jamet) to Barcelona for a second honeymoon when he meets the mysterious and beautiful Caroline (Clio Goldsmith). Immediately there is an attraction and Serge instantly leaves his shocked wife for her. The two share a strange relationship as Caroline pulls all the strings with Serge constantly crawling after her. As he loses his job, friends, reputation and finances he continues to obsess over her even as it eventually puts his life on the line.

The film has potential. I liked the idea of this intelligent man acting very unintelligently simply because of a beautiful woman, which happens much more often than one might realize. Seeing his successful life devolve into shreds is actually kind of funny and amusing. Unfortunately the script is not fleshed out and seems like a rough draft that is poorly thought out and badly in need of revisions. Everything happens much too fast without any backstory to the characters given. We have no understanding to the Serge character and the actions and behaviors of Caroline are quite bizarre without any explanation given for why she is that way. I found myself put-off by it and unable to get into it at all.

The film does have a few amusing moments. I enjoyed Serge’s attempts at giving a lecture to a roomful of college students about a book that he had actually not read. The makeshift fort that Caroline makes out of some furniture and blankets inside a hotel room is cool and Serge’s standoff with another man inside a urinal is funny as well. Unfortunately writer/director Luc Beraud doesn’t take these scenes to their full potential leaving the viewer with a small chuckle or two instead of all out laughter.

Dewaere gives a solid performance in one of his last roles before is untimely death by suicide just a year later. Goldsmith is attractive, but her nude scenes don’t mean much since they are all done in the dark and the shadowy lighting doesn’t allow the viewer to see much of her figure. Jeanne Moreau is terrific as Caroline’s mother who pimps her own daughter out to clients and then even herself.

The ending like the beginning is a disappointment and leads to a lot of nothing. The viewer is left with no conclusion to anything and the badly disjointed narrative makes this potentially explosive idea a big misfire.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Alternate Title: Plein sud

Released: April 29, 1981

Runtime: 1Hour 31Minutes

Rated R

Director: Luc Beraud

Studio: Gaumont

Available: VHS

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