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The Witnesses

(2008) *** Unrated
112 min. Strand Releasing.
From director André Téchiné (Wild Reeds) comes this insinuating drama about an emotionally complicated web of "open relationships." Novelist Sarah (Emmanuelle Béart of 8 Women) narrates the mid-'80s story from her latter-day perspective, testifying to the lives and loves of a tentative, curiously connected social group. Sarah and her husband Mehdi (Sami Bouajila), a vice cop, have agreed to tolerate affairs, though she probably doesn't expect her husband to take a male lover. Mehdi seems equally surprised to fall for Manu (Johan Libereau), the personification of youthful free exploration. Manu shares a chaste relationship with Adrien (Michel Blanc), a cranky middle-aged doctor who desires more than friendship. Everything changes when a horrifying "plague" emerges and flourishes in the gay community. In his refusal to submit to overwrought emotional clichés, Téchiné makes a keen witness of human behavior.
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