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Though Chance or Coincidence is a film surficially concerned with death and grief, never have I enjoyed a film that deals with this most emotive subject in so trenchantly and poignantly a manner, while at the same time managing to exude such effulgence and vitality.
Its singularity is born perhaps of the balletic theme that runs throughout; the main character's passion for the art form making for some glorious set-pieces as well as a subject that, delightfully, elects to express her feelings through dance at the most unlikely moments.
Indubitably the exuberance of the cinematography plays its part; when its subjects dance, both dramatically and literally, rather than observe, the camera becomes a part of their movement, follows, and joins in.
And mention must be made of the glorious lighting; of a French film dealing at least in part with such themes of darkness and tragedy, this is an atypical example in its determined eschewing of any visual reticence or gloom in favour of an almost pugnacious optimism allied to a vibrancy that lends each scene a unique glow, becoming a light that radiates through the film as a whole, that rather than lessening the impact of its more emotionally affecting moments, prevents it from ever becoming maudlin or depressing.
Could the secret lie in the film's wilfully idiosyncratic handling of plot? Certainly this is a rich conceptual concoction, featuring a particularly exciting device in the video camera that plays such a pivotal role in an interesting, joyfully unpredictable tale.
Surely the secret is in the script, sharp and intelligent, interpreted in a range of superb performances from the cast; particularly enchanting is that of star Alessandra Martines, wife of director Claude Lelouch, in whose beautifully expressive eyes we may find the secret yet...
But ultimately, of course -- and predictably -- I will have to say that it is all of these. Chance or Coincidence was a wonderful surprise in all respects, as it will be to anyone who watches it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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