FRIDAY TO SUNDAY

Talk about intimacy: Most of the first 45 minutes of the film French director Patrice Chereau made before Intimacy transpires on a crowded train hurtling from Paris to Limoges, where a large cast of characters is going to bury irascible painter Jean-Baptiste (Jean-Louis Trintignant, pictured)—the man who uttered the film’s title phrase. Among the mourners are the members of a gay love triangle (Pascal Greggory, Bruno Todeschini, and Sylvain Jacques), an estranged couple (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Charles Berling), and a transsexual (Vincent Perez), as well as the deceased’s brother (Trintignant again) and pre-pubescent heir (Delphine Schlitz). Just identifying all the characters is a challenge, and some viewers may be fatigued by the jealousies, ultimatums, and recriminations. Simply as filmmaking, however, Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train is exhilarating. Shot in handheld CinemaScope, the film is intensely musical, both in its structure and its use of sound—including a deftly edited mix of mostly English-language songs. From the close quarters of the train, Chereau switches to a vast cemetery—the largest in Europe, one man boasts, with a larger population than Limoges itself—and then to a sprawling estate, where individual rooms offer some privacy. Each section has its own visual logic, and the final sequence that unites them all is sweeping. This three-day run is supplemented by two screenings of Chereau’s 1994 Queen Margot, a vivid, painterly historical melodrama (starring Perez and Greggory with Isabelle Adjani) that turns on the Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572. Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train screens Friday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 and 8:45 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 9, at 2, 4:15, and 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 10, at 1, 3:15, and 8:15 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute’s National Film Theater. $7. (202) 833-2348. (Mark Jenkins)

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