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Sur mes lèvres (English title: Read my Lips) is a 2001 Frenchmarker film by Jacques Audiard, co-written with Tonino Benacquista. The film stars Vincent Cassel as Paul, an ex-con on parole, and Emmanuelle Devos as Carla, a nearly deaf secretary whose colleagues treat her disrespectfully, causing her to suffer. Despite their different backgrounds and initial fear of each other, they end up intimately related and helping each other.


Jacques Audiard combines disability, insecurity, love, revenge, and intensity to form his modern thriller Sur mes lèvres. The film is set in the unwelcoming offices and dirty underworld of Parismarker. It follows a storyline where a lonely woman, burdened by disability and lack of respect, takes comfort in a younger man who enters her life. The man is by no means perfect, but neither is the woman. The two make sacrifices for one another, and together they advance through scandalous operations while falling in love along the way.

The woman/heroine in this movie, Carla, is introduced immediately with a shot of her putting her earpiece in. The audience automatically feels some sympathy for Carla's impairment, which makes it more distressing to watch her cope with her job as an overworked and underappreciated secretary for a construction company. It isn't until she faints from the exhaustion of picking up after her unpleasant coworkers that Carla accepts the boss's offer of hiring an intern to lighten her load. Carla's loneliness is expressed by the gender specific criteria she uses to advertise for the position of her new assistant.

Paul is an ex-con who is not nearly qualified to be Carla's assistant, but Carla is strangely attracted to his looks and decides to hire him. She yearns for intimacy with a man, but she is overly desperate. Seeing the potential in Paul, she decides to take the chance with him; for he may possess the cure to her loneliness.


Awards and nominations

  • César Awards (France)
    • Won: Best Actress – Leading Role (Emmanuelle Devos)
    • Won: Best Sound (Cyril Holtz and Pascal Villard)
    • Won: Best Writing (Jacques Audiard and Tonino Benacquista)
    • Nominated: Best Actor – Leading Role (Vincent Cassel)
    • Nominated: Best Cinematography (Mathieu Vadepied)
    • Nominated: Best Director (Jacques Audiard)
    • Nominated: Best Editing (Juliette Welfling)
    • Nominated: Best Film
    • Nominated: Best Music (Alexandre Desplat)

  • European Film Awards
    • Nominated: Best Actress (Emmanuelle Devos)
    • Nominated: Best Screenwriter (Jacques Audiard and Tonino Benacquista)
    • Nominated: Audience Award – Best Actor (Vincent Cassel)
    • Nominated: Audience Award – Best Actress (Emmanuelle Devos)

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