L'Appartement  (1996) from Tuna

Let's start with the plot, as best as I can sort it out. Max (Vincent Cassel) has a great job and is engaged. He is on his way to Japan for a business trip, when he thinks he hears Monica Bellucci in the phone booth of a club, and drops everything to find her. Seems she is his long-lost love. This becomes complicated by the fact that Romane Bohringer is sort of piggybacking on Bellucci's life, and is not only sleeping with Max's best friend, but also with Max. She is also playing a bad actress in a play. So, for most of the film, which includes a lot of flashbacks, we have Cassell supposedly leaving for Japan, and supposedly looking for Bellucci, but actually banging Bohringer, Bohringer supposedly heading for Rome with the play, but actually boffing Cassell and his best friend, and Bellucci managing to miss all of the men except the nut case that may have offed his wife to be with her. Nobody in Japan seemed to miss Cassell, but then I don't suppose I would either.

The above is my best guess as to the plot.  Frankly, I was bored and confused from the beginning, and still don't understand the ending. I also couldn't understand the motives of any of the characters. Clearly, however, my reaction is not typical. Most people seem to agree that this constitutes one of the greatest French films of all time. IMDb readers say 7.8 based on over 2,000 votes. The "under 18" crowd has it nearly at 9. It received the best foreign language BAFTA, and was nominated for two Cesars. There also seems to be an agreement that much of it is an homage to Hitchcock, but in a very French way.

Here is a litmus test for you. One of the many IMDb rave comments for this film includes:

"This is an astonishing film: a romantic thriller with a convoluted but perfectly constructed and devastatingly symmetrical plot, brilliantly buttressed by the use of recurring visual motifs. Everything in it is beautifully filmed: the women, the apartments; but more amazing is the devastating juxtapositioning of images, almost every scene has echoes of another. This is a story told in light, in colour, in many almost-parallels. Every time I watch it, it fills me with delight."

If the above makes sense to you, you might well be among the majority of people who love this first and last film from Gilles Mimouni.

Scoop's note: I'm glad Tuna won the dice roll on this one. I've been avoiding it. The Apartment was remade in English in 2004 with the title Wicker Park, and that film also has a respectable IMDb rating.



  • It doesn't have jack



Romane Bohringer shows her breasts more than once, and her buns once, but out of focus.

The Critics Vote ...

  • BBC 5/5.


The People Vote ...

  • Intellectuals may champion it, but the public did not. It grossed about a million dollars in France
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on the above description and the film's reputation, it must be a C+, but is decidedly not my sort of film.

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