I was going to start the lovely Emmanuelle Béart's filmography with some better known classics, but after Johan's email request, decided to start with one of her more recent films, "Ça commence par la fin" [Eng. Trans: It Starts from the End].
A film directed, written and co-stared by Ms. Béart's real-life husband - actor Michael Cohen, it starts with Jean meeting Gabrielle at a party - they had separated a year ago after an intense relationship. The film explores this relationship in reverse order, trying to piece together the reasons why it ended. I haven't read Cohen's novel upon which this film is based - but I felt the film, while trying to be innovative, fails to develop its characters fully. We can see what the film is trying to say - that there is still scope for this couple to get back together as they were still in love when they decided to separate. But the audience won't care much less as we don't get to connect with them at all. There's hardly any romance even towards the end - their bond is depicted through extended and repetitive sex scenes, which in itself isn't enough.
While technically it is competent, the film as whole doesn't work for me. The cinematography could be a lot better - especially the outdoor night scenes of Paris, which evokes neither romance nor nostalgia. Perhaps there is a great story waiting to be told, and may be better screenplay and direction would have made this into something special.
As you may have guessed, there are several instances of nudity or partial nudity by Emmanuelle Béart who plays Gabrielle, but I've included only the first scene - probably the only one worth watching. Jean visits Gabrielle after their chance encounter following their breakup a year ago. It is rumoured that this is an unsimulated sex scene - I can't tell for certain, but then again there's no reason why it couldn't be - Béart and Cohen are after all real-life partners. The scene was cut from a DVD.