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August 19–25, 2016

Chicago Theatrical

Down by Love

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Film still: Down by Love
"[Adéle] Exarchopoulos pulls off a blend of pouty yet tough demeanour with aplomb; stage-trained [Guillaume] Gallienne coveys authoritative confidence undercut by the vulnerability of a lovesick teenager and a strong whiff of narcissism"
  —Screen International
"Down by Love is infuriating, erotic and a perfect showcase for both top-notch performances and skilled, measuring filmmaking"
  —Third Coast Review

Combustive desire shatters lives in writer-director Pierre Godeau's portrait of Jean (Guillaume Gallienne, Yves Saint Laurent), a married prison director who falls in love with Anna (Adéle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color), an inmate. This film is based on true events that occurred in a Versailles prison in 2011, causing a national scandal. This was not just a brief affair, but a full-on dangerous obsession. Jean is shackled to his desire and takes bigger and bigger risks to spend time with Anna. He tells complicated lies, snatches moments for sex in her cell and engages in numerous amounts of texting. Meanwhile, Anna tries to cope with her constricted life in an emotionally volatile prison environment, and in the process, becomes very dependent, using her sexuality to command and control Jean.

An added casting delight is the actress Marie Rivière, The Aviator's Wife), known for her collaborations with director Éric Rohmer. She portrays Anna's mother, a gentle, vulnerable woman who is shackled by her response to her daughter's imprisonment.

Down by Love is a film about our own private captivities, which is precariously balanced between admiration and obsession, a dangerous l'amour fou which means that we will do anything to satisfy our desires regardless of the consequences.

Directed by Pierre Godeau, 2015, France, 110 mins. In French with English subtitles.


  • Fri., Aug. 19 at 7 & 9:15 pm
  • Sat.–Sun., Aug. 20–21 at 5:30 & 7:45 pm
  • Tues.–Thurs., Aug. 22–25 at 7 & 9:15 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation