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Diane (Brigitte Rouan) is a forty-something, chic and sophisticated book editor. Her home life is also content; she is married to a lawyer, Phillipe (Patrick Chesnais), whom she still loves despite their passion having waned, and is devoted to her two teenage boys. Professionally, Diane’s preoccupation is guiding talented but self-doubting author Francois (Nis Tavernier) through his second novel. But when she meets Francois’ flatmate, Emilio (Boris Terral), she tumbles into a frenetic affair that soon becomes, for her, a deep obsession. Coincidentally, Diane’s husband, Phillipe, is defending an elderly neighbour who has murdered her own husband after being tormented by his infidelities over many years.

"‘Post Coitum’ is actually a truncation of the original French-release title: ‘Post Coitum, Animal Triste’ – a quote from Ovid, roughly translating to: ‘After sex, animal grief’. It’s an appropriate title. There’s a lot of sex in this film, and a lot of subsequent grief. What makes it interesting is the raw intensity with which it’s all portrayed. Post Coitum is very much Brigitte Rouan’s film; she directed it, co-wrote it and delivers a compelling performance as the forty-something, bourgeois sophisticate at first intoxicated by the passionate affections of the youthful Emilio and then destroyed and sunk into literal intoxication when he abandons her. Rouan brings such palpable conviction to Diane’s undignified disintegration that it is harrowing to witness. The poignancy of the effect on her family is strengthened by a subtle, endearing performance from Chesnais as her philosophical husband and her emotional flux can be seen against the fulcrum of Tavernier’s Francois, the author relying on Diane to be midwife to his creative labours. Terral, too, is well cast as a swarthy Lothario, although the scant development of Emilio’s character (aside from his style as a lover) is possibly the film’s most unsatisfying element. More rewarding are the film’s juxtapositions and paradoxes: intellect and emotion, writer and muse, confidence and vulnerability, generosity and self-centeredness – the contradictions of the human condition. Rouan’s direction is thoughtful and effective with cross cuts and jump cuts reinforcing counterpoints, parallels and echoes that run throughout a three-pronged narrative. There are sections when the film lulls, particularly towards the end, but Diane’s roller coaster of passion and despair concludes with a hint of salvation and an ultimately satisfying, gentle optimism."
Brad Green

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CAST: Brigitte Rouan, Boris Terral, Patrick Chesnais, Nils Tavernier, Francoise Arnoul

DIRECTOR: Brigitte Rouan

PRODUCER: Humbert Balsan

SCRIPT: Brigitte Rouan, Santiago Amigorena, Jean-Louis Richard, Guy Zylberstein


EDITOR: Laurent Rouan

MUSIC: Michel Musseau, Umberto Tozzi

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes


VIDEO RELEASE: September 13, 1999

RRP: $55

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