After appearing in nearly 80 films, the noted French actor Jean-Pierre Darroussin makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of a 1936 novel by Emmanuel Bove, which he first read as a young man and which has haunted him ever since. Bove (1898-1945) is still little known outside France, where his champions include Samuel Beckett. Like his protagonists, he's been described as “a man who was trying to become forgotten the way others try to become known.” Updating the novel to contemporary Paris, Darroussin himself plays the central role of a wealthy lawyer, Charles Benesteau, who drops out of the bourgeois circle of his wife and family and moves into a small apartment in a multi-ethnic working-class neighborhood. Charles intends to write and live unnoticed, believing he'll find happiness in anonymous solitude. His pretentious and nasty relatives think he's lost his marbles, and his wife files for divorce. Meanwhile, in his new milieu, altruistic Charles lends money, gives free legal advice, and when he learns that a young girl has been left alone takes her under his wing. The film is far from a political tract: the moral superiority of the proletariat over the middle class is not a given-in his low-rent quarter Charles' prized bicycle is stolen, and he's falsely accused by malicious neighbors of pedophilic intentions towards the girl he helps. Darroussin performs with assurance and control. The Premonition is an actor's film-the discreet directorial style delivers the story without flashy flourishes, but the ambiguous ending adds another layer to its twist-ridden and intriguing complexity.
JEAN-PIERRE DARROUSSIN was born in 1953 in Courbevoie, a small northwestern suburb of Paris. He studied at the Dramatic Arts Academy of Paris and immediately gained critical notice in Philippe de Broca's 1981 film Psy. After taking the Parisian theatrical world by storm, Darroussin began a long and fruitful collaboration with filmmaker Robert Guédiguian. But it was his role as the memorable hippy in the Jean-Marie Poiré's Mes meilleurs copains by that brought Darroussin fame. He went on to win the Best Supporting Actor César in 1997 for Un air de famille by Cédric Klapisch. His directorial debut in 1992 was with the short film C'est trop con! The film was praised by critics and won Darroussin the Best European Directing Award at the Angers Film Festival.