Hyper-Articulate and Proud of It

Leslie Camhi in the New York Times:

Screenhunter_01_apr_22_1618Can an excess of intelligence be a crippling force, creatively? That’s one of the questions haunting “Poison Friends,” a French psychological thriller by the writer and director Emmanuel Bourdieu, opening Friday in New York. In the film, André (Thibault Vinçon), the brilliant ringleader of a band of Parisian graduate students, loves to quote a favorite dictum of the Viennese critic Karl Kraus, on why certain people write. “Because they’re too weak not to write,” he says.

Perhaps only in France could people’s literary impulses appear so widespread and insistent that, according to André, they must be controlled, like a physical itch or a psychological compulsion. It’s difficult to imagine a hero with a more negative view of artistic invention. But to Mr. Bourdieu, André’s hypercritical approach is inspiring.

“I really like characters who are unproductive and even sometimes self-destructive, because they are so demanding of themselves and others,” the director said. “It’s true that, literarily, André produces nothing. But he’s constantly inventing dramas between his friends. So he is creative, as are many pathological liars; he turns ordinary life into theater, though there’s something violent in the fact that he hasn’t asked his actors for their permission.”

More here.  [Thanks to Asad Raza.]