Essentially a film about the ambiguous benefits of charisma and leadership, Poison Friends (Les AmitiÃ©s MalÃ©fiques, directed by Emmanuel Bourdieu) examines the relationship between a group of young men at university in Paris, each studying literature and unnerved by their ambition to become serious writers. Their ringleader, AndrÃ© Morney (Thibault VinÃ§on), is highly brilliant, has read everything and is adored unconditionally by his professors. He is outspoken, supremely narcissistic and seemingly unafraid. He mesmerizes his friends, Eloi (Malik Zidi), Edouard and SÃ©bastien with his eerily accurate analyses of their characters, provoking them to take enormous risks (lying on their rÃ©sumÃ©s, setting letterboxes on fire to destroy a regretted love-letter before it reaches the recipient).
As a result, their desires become more clear, they become more successful, they gain confidence; this makes Morney all the more essential to their lives. With this focus comes dependency, and his friends become fodder for his hateful, outrageous behavior: He beats them up, humiliates them and abuses them. This cycle preoccupies Morney so much that he neglects his thesis and is fired by his professor, at which point the unraveling of his character begins. This movie is completely absorbing and wonderful. See it.
Above, Malik Zidi and Thibault VinÃ§on.
Poison Friends is currently showing at Cinema Village