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Film / The New Girlfriend

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The New Girlfriend (Une nouvelle amie) is a 2014 French drama film directed by François Ozon, starring Romain Duris, Anaïs Demoustier, Raphaël Personnaz and Isild Le Besco.

Laura (Le Besco) is the best friend of Claire (Demoustier). Laura is married with David (Duris) and Claire is married with Gilles (Personnaz). Soon after the birth of Lucie, her first child, Laura dies. Both Claire and David have to cope with grief. Then Claire discovers that David likes crossdressing. Claire calls David's female persona Virginia.

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The New Girlfriend provides examples of:

  • Attractive Bent-Gender: When David goes to the cinema dressed as a woman, a man immediately sits next to him and puts his hand on David's thigh. Claire is also attracted to David's female persona. When they are going to have sex together, Claire suddenly stops and goes away because she realizes that David has a penis.
  • Bi the Way: Claire is married with Gilles, but she is attracted to Virginia, David's female persona. When Claire is going to have sex with "Virginia", she suddenly stops and goes away because she realizes that David has a penis.
  • Blood Brothers: Laura and Claire cut themselves to mix their blood when they are children.
  • Call-Back: Many of the scenes that depict Claire and Virginia's friendship echo Claire and Laura's friendship backstory:
    • In the park of Créancy, Claire pushes Laura on a swing, then they cross a bridge in the wood and they engrave a heart in the trunk of a tree. Later, in the same place, Virginia pushes Claire on the swing, they cross the same bridge and they find back the heart engraved by Claire and Laura.
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    • Claire combs Laura's hair in Laura's bedroom in Créancy. Later, Claire combs Virginia's wig, but the wig gets loose.
    • Claire and Laura go together to the cinema. A guy sitting next to Laura puts his arm on Laura's shoulder. Later, Claire and Virginia go together to the cinema. A guy sitting next to Virginia puts his hand on Virginia's thigh. Claire notices it and tells Virginia to go sit elsewhere.
    • Claire and Laura go together to a nightclub and they dance together. David starts dancing with Laura and Laura enjoys dancing with him. Later, Claire and Virginia go together to a nightclub too and they dance together. A girl starts dancing with Claire, who eventually dismisses her.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Happens to Claire in Créancy, when she dreams that Laura has come into her bed.
  • Convenient Coma: After being hit by a car, David goes into a coma. He gets out of it easily, when Claire dresses him and makes him up as Virginia and when she sings "Une femme avec toi" (a song by Nicole Croisille) for him.
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  • Creator Cameo: The director, François Ozon, plays the role of a pervert man in the cinema.
  • Daydream Surprise:
    • When Claire and David spend a night in Créancy, someone comes in Claire's bed and starts caressing her. Then this person is revealed to be Laura and Claire wakes up.
    • At the tennis club, Claire sneaks into the men's shower room and she catches her husband having sex with David, but it is just her imagination: when Claire comes round David and Gilles are just having a shower side by side.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue is set 7 years after the main events of the story.
  • Drag Queen: Claire and David (as Virginia) go to a nightclub where a drag queen strips to the sound of "Une femme avec toi" by Nicole Croisille.
  • Flashback:
    • In the beginning, there is a flashback that tells Laura and Claire's backstory.
    • There are other short flackbacks in the rest of the movie: Claire remembers how a portrait of Laura was made when she was 16; David remembers how he dressed and made up Laura's dead body.
  • The Film of the Book: The story is based on The New Girlfriend, a 1985 novel by Ruth Rendell
  • In Medias Res: The film starts with the making-up and the dressing of Laura's dead body, and her funeral. Then, a short Flashback sums up Laura's life, in particular her friendship with Claire.
  • Intimate Hair Brushing:
    • In the Flashback, Claire as a child combs Laura's hair. This scene is used as a Time Passes Montage: both girls are immediately showed doing the same thing as teenagers.
    • In Créancy, Claire combs Virginia's wig.
  • Invented Invalid: Claire tells Gilles that her mother is sick and she must visit her, so that she can spend some days with Virginia in Créancy.
  • Little Black Dress: Claire wears one when she goes out for dinner with her husband and David.
  • Look Both Ways: In the end, David (as Virginia) is hit by a car after leaving the hotel where Claire turned down his advances. He is seriously injured, but he survives.
  • The Lost Lenore: The film starts with the funeral of Laura, David's wife. The movie depicts how he deals with her death.
  • Love Triangle: Claire is married with Gilles, but she is attracted to Virginia, David's female persona.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Laura's funeral shows how Claire was attached to her. In particular, Claire reveals that she promised Laura to take care of her husband David and her daughter Lucie.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: In the beginning, a Flashback shows Claire and Laura when they were children.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: When Gilles hears that his wife Claire spent a couple of days with David in Créancy, he assumes that she cheated on him, but she did not.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Claire tells her husband that David has realized that he is gay to justify the fact that she spent secretly a couple of days with him in Créancy. So, Gilles thinks that David is gay, whereas he is not, even if he likes crossdressing.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: In the opening scene, we do not see who dresses and makes up Laura's dead body. Later, in a Flashback, it is revealed that David did it.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The events of the film are triggered by the death of Laura.
  • Posthumous Character: Laura's dead body is showed in the opening sequence of the film. Then, a short Flashback sums up her life. A large part of the whole movie is about how Claure and David deal with her death.
  • Replacement Goldfish: David claims at first that he cross-dresses because Lucie's mother is dead and the baby needs a mother figure. His female persona also replaces Claire's best friend.
  • Shopping Montage: There is one when David goes out of his house dressed as a woman for the first time. Claire takes him to a shopping mall and they buy female clothes together.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In the opening sequence, Richard Wagner's wedding march is played while Laura's dead body is put into a coffin.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Claire and Virginia go to a gay nightclub. There, a drag queen strips, then the people dance to the sound of "Follow Me", a euro disco song by Amanda Lear.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Even if Claire's first reaction when she discovers that David likes crossdressing is to call him a pervert, David is presented in a neutral way. In the end, everybody (including David himself) accepts that he cross-dresses.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Claire, who is married with Gilles, is going to have sex with David (as Virginia). Subverted, because, suddenly, Claire stops and goes away when she realizes that David has a penis. Double subverted because the end implies that she is in a full fledge relationship with Virginia.

Alternative Title(s): Une Nouvelle Amie

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