With its documentary-like cinematography, typical of Alain Tanner’s characteristic social realist style, Le Milieu du monde makes a cruel analytic examination of one man’s deluded love for a woman. Romantic love is, to...展开a greater or lesser extent, a fiction, where the intensity of the love is determined by the needs and imagination of the individual who has been struck by Cupid’s arrow. Mutual love is more commonplace in films and novels than in real life, and it is a refreshing change when a film defies convention and shows romantic love as is very often is – a misguided obsession with a very limited life span.
It is surprising how intensely Tanner and his two lead actors (Olimpia Carlisi and Philippe Léotard à la perfection) manage to convince us of both sides in the ill-fated relationship – Adriana’s cool indifference and Paul’s child-like obsession. This is a blindingly realistic depiction of a love affair seen from a totally neutral perspective (emphasised by the raw cinematography of the bleak rural setting), yet, despite its coldness and analytical style, it is still a hugely compelling work.