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Directed by Gilles Mimouni
Produced by Georges Benayoun
Written by Gilles Mimouni
Starring Vincent Cassel
Monica Bellucci
Music by Peter Chase
Cinematography Thierry Arbogast
Distributed by Cinemien
Release date(s) 2 October 1996 (1996-10-02)
Running time 116 min
Country France
Language French

L'Appartement is a 1996 French film directed by Gilles Mimouni and starring Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci and Romane Bohringer.



Max (Vincent Cassel) is a former bohemian and an amateur writer who gets a job in New York and leaves his girlfriend Lisa who he was madly in love with, in mysterious circumstances. After two years he returns home to Paris and decides to settle down and get married to a French girl called Muriel. By chance, he catches a glimpse of his lost love, Lisa (Monica Bellucci) in a cafe but fails to make contact before she storms out. Determined to meet her, Max secretly cancels his business trip abroad to pursue his lost love. Through a series of ruses and perseverance, he enters Lisa's apartment. Hearing that somebody else has arrived, he hides in her wardrobe.

First he thinks it is Lisa as the girl who came to the apartment resembles Lisa from behind. After several misunderstandings they finally got acquainted. The girl introduces herself as Lisa. Eventually same night they make love and later on their relationships start to develop. However the girl's real name is Alice (Romane Bohringer). During the film flashbacks are intertwined with the narrative to provide the background for Max, Lisa and especially for Alice, shedding light on the situation.

Apparently Alice and Lisa were best friends, but Alice grew obsessed with Max from a distance. She restyled herself to look like Lisa while secretly engineering a breakup between them.

Lisa is being pursued by a rich older man who might have murdered his wife to get closer to her. For this reason, she avoids her flat and lets Alice use it. To complicate matters further, Alice is dating Max's best friend, Lucien, who acts as the confidant for Max.

Eventually, the truth begins to unravel in front of everyone's eyes leading to dramatic and life changing consequences for all involved.

In a sub-plot Alice is seen to be acting in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and this draws our attention to the close parallels between the four lovers in the film and those in Shakespeare, and it is arguable that the whole film is a rendition of the play. The film begins and ends in "reality" where Max and Muriel have a world weary but sensible life in high finance (and the implication is that Muriel is the boss' daughter, thus intimating Egeus' involvement in Hermia's marriage to Demetrius), but almost all the action takes place in a dream like trance where the lovers don't really know who they love. Lucien is always faithful to Alice, and pursues her, but both Alice and Lisa (who, as their names imply, are reflections of each other) initially both love Max, and Max, although madly in love with Lisa turns to Alice for no obvious reason, just before reality dawns. The similarity with Demetrius, Helena, Hermia and Lysander is striking.


The film has generally been received positively by critics who praised it for its complex plot and stylish direction.[1]

The film was remade, successfully, in America as Wicker Park in 2004.



External links

Preceded by
BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language
Succeeded by
Central Station


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