The gulf between sexuality and intimacy is explored in “Intimate Strangers,” a deliciously original French comedy/drama from director Patrice Leconte (“Man on the Train,” “The Widow of Saint-Pierre”) premiering in Geneva at the Smith Opera House on Dec. 9.
Like a classic private-eye noir, “Intimate Strangers” opens on a woman's heels. Following the feet into a well-appointed Parisian apartment, the film introduces us to a situation that Raymond Chandler might find oddly familiar. The woman (the reliably sensual Sandrine Bonnaire) walks into the cozy, dark office of a psychiatrist (Fabrice Luchini) and begins telling him about her marital problems.
William, the psychiatrist, who has eyes like a startled trout and the soft voice of someone long unaccustomed to excitement, seems to be having a difficult time maintaining his professional composure but, once the woman leaves after booking another session, we learn why: He's not a psychiatrist.
Those heels turned her the wrong way off the elevator, and she's just shared her most intimate secrets with a tax lawyer.
Unable to admit to this woman, Anna, that he's not who she thinks he is, William finds himself drawn more deeply into her increasingly intimate monologues.
The Smith screens “Intimate Strangers” at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10, at 2 p.m. Dec. 12, and at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14. Rated R for sexual dialogue, this film is in French with subtitles. It has a running time of one hour, 42 minutes.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. All seats are $3 on Thursday and $2 on Tuesday. Call 315-781-5483 or toll-free 866-355-5483 for details or to reserve tickets.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.