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Young Simone gets hit by a near fatal car crash, and as she questions her mortality, she also decides to have a baby. Her candidate for a father is her best friend Phillipe who happens to be seeing someone. He agrees, as long as they conceive in Salt Lake City, in the desert. The trip teaches many lessons about love, solitude, and self-discovery. Written by
Jessie Skinner <email@example.com>
Simone (Pascale Bussières) is a young Canadian fashion model who is on the brink of a brilliant career. But this bright future could be thwarted due to a serious car accident of which she miraculously survives. In the aftermath, she decides to put an end to her professional life and becomes obsessed with the idea to have a baby. So, she persuades her best friend, Philippe (Alexis Martin) to act with and for her and the latter accepts provided they do it in the desert. A few days later, they are in this silent, eerie place...
"Un 32 Août Sur Terre" is a curious work that will puzzle a good proportion of viewers. It reminded me a lot of "Twentynine Palms" (2003) by Bruno Dumont although this film is posterior to Denis Villeneuve's film. This was also a film set in an ominous, desert place and in which evolved two tortured characters. They had (wild) sex there and they were surrounded by an unforgiving humanity. In a way, humanity isn't also very gentle to Simone and Philippe in this film: the taxi driver jettisons them in the desert, Alexis is bludgeoned by a gang of ruffians.
Simone's demeanor leaves the ground open for many interpretations: is it because she came close to death that she wants to have a baby? Does she want to discover a new way of life? And if so, where does it lead her? Apart from other many questions that will rise in the viewer's mind, Villeneuve deftly uses the desert landscapes to create majestic, entrancing images. It's even a sort of "in camera" that the director manages to create. A sensation that will come again later when the two friends are in the cramped hotel room. The sense of fantastic is palpable throughout the film: from this car accident to these extra days in August that don't exist to this irrational sequence during which the gang beat Philippe to death. In the end, Villeneuve shrouds his film with a philosophical dimension revolving around life and death.
In Philippe's house, there's a cover depicting Jean Seberg who saw her career taking off thanks to Jean-Luc "God Ard"'s "A Bout De Soufflé" (1959). Godard's detractors blame him for his intellectual pretensions which clutter his works. Many viewers will also deem this work as highbrow and elusive for understandable reasons. Keep it for a day during which you are prone to reflection and thought as it's not a work for the mainstream. And for French viewers, beware! As Quebec people speak with a very pronounced accent, it's sometimes difficult to decipher their words
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