(Aka Those Who
Love Me Can Take the Train) Eminent painter
Jean-Baptiste Emmerich dies at age 70 and his
final request is to be buried in the family plot in Limoges. Emmerich was
clearly a man of exceptional charisma and left several generations of male
lovers. Friends and family gather at a Paris railroad station for the
four-hour journey to Limoges. The mourners include art
historian Francois and his lover Louis, who develops an interest
in teenage Bruno. Also on board is Emmerich's
nephew, Jean-Marie and Jean-Marie's estranged wife, Claire.
Traveling parallel with the train is a station wagon
with Jean-Baptiste's body, and this vehicle is driven by Thierry, husband of
Catherine, who's on the train with their daughter. After the funeral
in "Europe's largest cemetery," the storyline continues in the mansion of
Jean-Baptiste's brother, Lucien, who is more than a
little intrigued with Viviane, a beautiful pre-op transsexual. These are
people of emotional extravagance and several confrontations take place.
Thoroughly pleasurable... Chéreau is not only a brilliant director, he's also
willing to risk going over the top, which he does here quite often. And his actors are
mesmerizing even when they're yelling too much. Among the best are Jean-Louis Trintignant
as an embittered shoe-store magnate, the wasp-tongued but saintly Pascal Greggory, the
ravishingly beautiful Sylvain Jacques, and the sly Vincent Perez.
Trintignant and Perez have a scene involving a pair of red spike-heel pumps that's to die
The Record (New Jersey):
"Perez turns in a stunning performance as Viviane, a transsexual
caught in Jean-Baptiste's web. Perez plays the entire film in drag and wonderfully
captures the angst, confusion, and sadness of a woman caught in a man's body - and trying
to break out. This is a risky performance, given Perez's box office reputation as
France's answer to Brad Pitt. But he rises to the occasion with a portrayal that is
compassionate, not campy or corny."
Weekly Planet - Tampa:
"One of the most thrilling blasts of pure cinema I've seen in years...The film is a
stunningly shot and edited tour de force, and the well-deserved winner of this year's Cesar for Best
"After the funeral, we get to know a flighty woman named Viviane, played by
none-other-than Vincent Perez in a borderline risible but ultimately a
touching and moving turn."
"A kind of francophonic and familial Big Chill."
New Times (Los Angeles):
"Rather dazzling in all regards, and well-acted, featuring a delicious turn by Vincent
Perez as a thoroughly convincing transvestite."
"A truly satisfying journey through love, lust and everything in between... Viviane (Vincent
Perez) seems to appear out of nowhere but fills the mourning house with a playful
ray of light."
Stephen Holden, NY Times News Service:
"The artist being remembered is compared to Francis Bacon in both the ferocity of his
work and the tumult of a personal life that crossed all conventional boundaries. And those
who remember him (including Vincent Perez as a transsexual) reflect the
chaotic sexuality in which he reveled. This extravagantly romantic film, whose rich
musical score ranges from Jeff Buckley to Mahler's 10th Symphony, begins with a dazzling
sequence at the train station in which the camera crosscuts among the various mourners and
their complicated relationships... It offers a provocatively sexy vision of Paris'
vie boheme, late-'90s style."
"Brilliant casting... But it is Vincent Perez who stands out from
the group by his astonishing interpretation of a transvestite."
Janet Maslin, NY Times:
"A slick French ensemble film with a funeral plot device a la Big Chill and Vincent
Perez in drag."
M.B., NY Times:
"Rather dazzling in all regards, and well acted, featuring a delicious turn by Vincent
Damon Smith, Attitude:
"Performances are uniformly excellent from Greggory's heart-wrenching former lover...
and Berling and Bruni-Tedeschi... to Vincent Perez as transvestite
Chris Drake, Sight and Sound:
"It's some cast... Vincent Perez is affecting."
Anthony Quinn, The Independent:
"Strong performances by Pascal Greggory, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Vincent
Perez, and the great Jean Louis Trintignant."
Critic Jean-Luc Brunet:
"Splendid... Sophisticated and fluid. A formidable collective performance of
actors. In particular, the confrontation between a father and his son,
Jean-Louis Trintignant and Charles Berling, the brilliant duet of friend/ lover by Pascal
Greggory and Bruno Todeschini... One will also remember Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and the
surprising role of Vincent Perez."
Christian Science Monitor:
"Chéreau weaves a wide range of feelings into a complex dramatic tapestry."
Los Angeles Times:
Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train is in the grand French tradition of
depicting the eternal human comedy with a compassion balanced by a wry, unsentimental
detachment... Viviane, one of Jean-Baptiste's legion of lovers, who was once Frederic but
is now a pre-op transsexual, is played with warmth and gallantry by Vincent Perez,
one of the French cinema's top romantic stars...
Chereau's film is surprisingly unpredictable, compassionate but never
indulgent, brisk and spiked with mordant humor."
"Vincent Perez, star of Chereau's epic Queen Margot, makes for a
surprisingly affecting pre-op transsexual, in the film's most fanciful subplot."
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"One of the more memorable characters in this crowded film is a tall, striking woman
named Viviane, played by none other than Vincent Perez."
"No mourner is so dramatique as Viviane, who is played by Vincent Perez
(Indochine), tweaking his hetero-romantic movie-star image by laying it on as a
"Persuasively performed and rapturously cinematic... French heartthrob Vincent
Perez shows up a pre-op transsexual."
"Performances catch in the throat, almost too perfect to bear. Vincent
Perez's transsexual is remarkable."
New York Post:
"What make Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train so beguiling by the end are the universally
superb performances by Chereau's cast. Trintignant is wonderful as always but Vincent Perez (as the transsexual
Viviane) and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi are just extraordinary."
Film Journal International:
"The wonderful young actor Vincent Perez (Queen Margot)
plays Viviane, an appealing transsexual who brings much-needed heart and soul to the
Flipside Movie Emporium:
"The acting is world-class across the board, but special mention goes to Vincent
Perez who has an unforgettable performance as a sweet, sensitive
film is structured a bit like a puzzle. That structure came to us as soon as we started
writing the script. The idea was to lay out all the pieces of the puzzle, but then select
only those that we would absolutely need. Basically you don't need all the pieces of the
puzzle to get the entire picture..."
"A man, an artist, who has spent his whole life
in Paris, decides to be buried in Limoges. His statement 'Those who love me can take the
train' is a posthumous injunction to the survivors: if you love me, you can at least
sacrifice a day of your life to accompany me to my last resting place.
It also implies a division between those who
will take the train and those who won't. I heard this sentence and wanted to use it as our
title; it is long, but mysterious, it sounds like an order, but actually a rather gentle
order, and it instills a competitive spirit in the survivors that is present
throughout." Chéreau admits that the painter character was inspired by his father,
but he also feels that he himself is present in many of the characters. "Part of me
is in the couple made up of Charles Berling and Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi. I am also in the
diabolical triangle of Pascal Greggory, Bruno Todeschini and Sylvain Jacques."
fun part of the role was that when we started
shooting, probably thanks a lot to my co-actors, there was no longer a
Vincent. There was only a Vivianne. My name wasn't even on the call-sheets,
Viviane's was. I got into the character and then a few days later, something
strange happened, total immersion, I just let go. So Viviane began to exist
in lieu of Vincent. Mostly because everyone around me believed that was the
It's true that Patrice helped me enormously with his technical knowledge - the camera
angles, the light, plus the fact that the part was magnificently written. So actually it
allowed me to work more on the character itself than the notion of transsexuality.
Ultimately, I wanted to play a woman, and I played a woman.
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.......Claire
Directed by.....Patrice Chereau
by.....Danièle Thompson, Patrice
Chéreau and Pierre Trividic
Cinematography by.................Eric Gautier
French Premiere: May 13, 1998
DVD release: September 25, 2001
Nominated for 11 Cesars, including Best Supporting Actor for
Vincent. Film won Cesars for direction, cinematography and supporting actress.
Featured at the Following Film Festivals:
Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 1998
Toronto International Film Festival in September 1998
Chicago Film Festival in October 1998
Lincoln Center's annual "Rendez-Vous with French Cinema
Today" Series in March 1999.
City of Lights/City of Angels French Film Festival in Los Angeles
on May 1, 1999
Boston French Film Festival on July 17, 1999.
Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on October 3,
Denver International Film Festival on October 8, 1999.
10th Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Film Festival in
Minnesota, Michigan on October 22, 1999.