Presque rien

Infobox Film
name = Presque rien

caption =
director = Sébastian Lifshitz
producer = Christian Tison
writer = Sébastian Lifshitz
Stéphane Bouquet
narrator =
starring = Jérémie Elkaïm
Stéphane Rideau
Marie Matheron
Dominique Reymond
Lætitia Legrix
Nils Ohlund
Réjane Kerdaffrec
music =
cinematography = Pascal Poucet
editing = Jann Dedet
distributor = Peccadillo Pictures
released =
runtime = 95 mins
country = France
language = French
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0242795

"Presque rien" (meaning "Almost Nothing", which is also the UK release title; the U.S. title is "Come Undone") is a 2000 French film directed by Sebastien Lifshitz, depicting a stormy romance between two 18-year-olds (One who is upper middle class and another who is working class) set in Brittany and what remains of that relationship eighteen months later. "Presque Rien" is also the title of a piece of classic "musique concrète" produced by French composer Luc Ferrari in 1970.


Mathieu (Jérémie Elkaïm), is spending his summer vacation at the sea before starting college in the fall to become an architect. His mother is deeply depressed because of the death of his baby brother from cancer, and he and his snotty younger sister cannot get along.

Then he meets Cedric at the beach (Stéphane Rideau, the object of gay desires in several films, including "Les roseaux sauvages"), who is attractive and obviously looking for a boyfriend.

After the first shy kisses and embraces, the two boys begin a steamy affair, and Lifshitz does not hesitate to show this with realism.

A parallel plot line focuses on Mathieu eighteen months later, as he recovers from the shock of their separation. After having tried to commit suicide, Mathieu's psychiatrist sends him back to the small seaside town to learn how to deal with what happened. While Lifshitz does not explicitly say why their relationship failed, the impression is conveyed that their characters are simply too different.

The film ends on a hopeful note when Mathieu meets Pierre (Nils Ohlund), another former boyfriend of Cedric's, and finally gets the feeling he has found someone who understands him.


The following is extracted from an useful review from -

"The story unfolds with Mathieu, after suffering from depression, revisits his family summerhouse to pull his life together. It is the same place where two summer's ago he met his first boyfriend, someone with whom he just broke up. Upon arriving, Mathieu picks up a wild cat that's roaming the streets. In a flashback, Mathieu arrives at his family summerhouse for vacation where he "picked up" a wild child, Cédric, who basically lives on the street. Instantly, we can draw the connection between Cédric and the cat: Mathieu said to the cat "You are cute but you stink." It reminds us in the flashback how he rehearses his introduction line to Cédric in the mirror: "I must admit you are pretty cute." After Mathieu baths the cat, he tells the cat that he is his little prince charming, just as the carefree and attractive Cédric would have been to any gay teenager falling in love for the first time. But lies the less fortunate comparison: Cédric, as much as he wants Mathieu, is like the cat, and is unable to reciprocate the kind of affection Mathieu needs in a relationship.

There is one key scene I find surprising that no one mentions: Mathieu's and Cédric's visit to a historic ruin. Architecture student Mathieu is interested in reading the background of the site, but Cedric is only interested in a intimate moment together – to him it is just a bunch of rocks. Mathieu complains that Cédric has one track of mind, and that he doesn't like it when Cédric is like that. It is a telling sign of the difference between the two, and how problematic the relationship could be. However, Mathieu (and many the audience I'll bet) are so charmed by the good-looking and sexually uninhibited Cédric that he (and us) are blinded to the fact that Cédric is unable to bond with Mathieu in a non-physical way. Recall that Cédric was totally oblivious to any of the Mathieu's emotional problems when Mathieu's psychiatrist asked him, except that Mathieu was not interested in having sex during the past month, again Cédrics' desire only manifests in a physical way.

While so many of the critics have criticized the film's ending, I find that it is actually very satisfying. While it seems contrived that Mathieu should reach out for his boyfriend's ex, it is not hard to understand what draws him to Pierre. Cédric doesn't believe in family and would rather be a renegade than be introduced to Mathieu's father. But outside of his house, we see the domestic Pierre helping out his mother in setting up dinner. Mathieu himself longingly browses through family photos, including photos of his pain-in-the-ass sister. When Mathieu asks Pierre why he didn't have his own place, Pierre states matter-of-factly, "Why? To be All Alone?" The Mathieu who impulsively moved in with Cédric to a total strange city can certainly understand that sentiment. (When Pierre asked Mathieu if he think he is lame, Mathieu replied that he thinks he seems "really together")

The movie concludes with Mathieu and Pierre coming across a lonely child in the beach (presumably his dad is also present but he was intentionally excluded from the frame). Pierre shows his paternal side by teaching the kid how to play soccer as Mathieu looks on. In a flashback, the naive and love-struck Mathieu is totally captivated by Cédric as he sings and dances in the buff at the beach, the post-depression, wiser, and more mature Mathieu (something Pierre didn't fail to notice), once again sitting on a beach, now sees a side of Pierre that he knows he won't find in Cédric."

Plot Structure

Rather than having a clear, chronologically ordered, narrative, the movie switches between the "summer" and the "winter" plotline, depicting the differences in Mathieu's life at one time and the other, as well as establishing the contrast between one time and the other visually.


The soundtrack of the movie uses songs by Irish-born singer and songwriter Perry Blake (from his album "Still Life") to convey Mathieu's melancholic, depressive mood.

External links

*imdb title|id=0242795|title=Presque rien
* [ Presque rien] at [] gives an insightful review

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Presque rien — Données clés Réalisation Sébastien Lifshitz Scénario Sébastian Lifshitz Stéphane Bouquet Acteurs principaux Jérémie Elkaïm Stéphane Rideau Marie Matheron Dominique Reymond Lætitia Legrix Nils Ohlund Réjane Kerdaffrec …   Wikipédia en Français

  • presque rien — фр. [прэск рьэн] почти исчезая ◊ presque plus rien [прэск плю рьен] совершенно замирая (Дебюсси) …   Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов

  • Presque Rien (Perry Blake album) — Presque Rien Album par Perry Blake Sortie 6 juin 2000 Durée 21:03 Producteur Perry Blake Ross Cullum Label Naïve Records …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Presque rien (album) — Presque Rien Album par Stefie Shock Sortie 11 avril 2000 Durée 44:11 Genre Musique québécoise Label Multipass Music …   Wikipédia en Français

  • rien — [ rjɛ̃ ] pron. indéf., n. m. et adv. • 1050 n. f. « chose » encore au XVIe; 980 ren non « nulle chose »; du lat. rem, accus. de res « chose » → réel REM. Rien (objet direct) se place normalement devant le p. p. des v. aux temps comp. et devant l… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • presque — [ prɛsk ] adv. • pres que XIIIe; à pres que « à peu près » XIIe; de près et que 1 ♦ À peu près. ⇒ 1. quasi, quasiment (cf. Peu s en faut, à peu de chose près). Elle est très petite, presque naine. C est presque certain. Elle pleurait presque,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • rien — (riin) s. m. indéterminé 1°   Quelque chose. 2°   Avec la négation ne, nulle chose. 3°   N être rien. N être de rien. 4°   De rien, avec ne, nullement. 5°   Ne rien faire. N avoir rien. Ne rien dire. 6°   Cela ne fait rien. 7°   Ne faire semblant …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • RIEN — s. m. Néant, nulle chose. Dieu a créé le monde de rien. Dans l ordre de la nature, rien ne se fait de rien. Rien n est plus glorieux, plus commode, plus avantageux, plus nécessaire. Rien ne me plaît davantage. Il n y a rien de si fâcheux. Il ne… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • RIEN — pron. m. ind. Il se disait pour Quelque chose; il s’emploie encore en ce sens dans un certain nombre de locutions. Est il rien de plus beau? Qui vous dit rien? Si rien pouvait l’affliger, c’était cette nouvelle. Sans qu’il en sache rien. Etc. Il… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • presque plus rien — фр. [прэск плю рьен] совершенно замирая (Дебюсси) см. также presque rien …   Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов

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