In the opening scene of Jealousy, a relationship comes to an end. Shaggy-haired actor Louis (Louis Garrel) is leaving his girlfriend Clothilde (Rebecca Convenant) as their young daughter Charlotte looks on. The moment isn’t hugely original, or even especially dramatic. It’s a thing that has to happen, and everyone knows it, and each person’s reaction is honored. Then we move on—but everything that happens after depends on this sequence. Louis goes to live with his new lover Claudia (Anna Mouglalis, the Chanel from the dreary Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky), herself an actress, albeit one who mysteriously hasn’t worked in six years. The design of veteran director Philippe Garrel (Louis is his son) takes all of this situation’s developments in stride—sometimes literally, as he likes walking scenes—as though observation, not manipulation, is his primary interest.
It lacks the clocklike inner workings of movies devoted to storytelling, but Jealousy does a lot of things right.