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mediterranean | hospital | See All (2) »

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Documentary | Short

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13 November 1998 (Greece)  »

Also Known As:

Mesogeios  »

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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

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Edited into Film socialisme (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Suite Orchestrale (Thèmes Génériques)
Written and Conducted by Antoine Duhamel
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The Mediterranean as magical automaton
16 July 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Pollet and Schlöndorff imagine the Mediterranean as a supernal arena.

"Pays multiples faussement endormis" (A host of countries wrongfully put to sleep) - as the narration goes.

The calm of the Mediterranean is an illusion, as envisioned by the metaphor of dragons-teeth in a harbour ("both calm and disturbed"). There are moments of tender beauty such as Seurat-ian water, and scenes from a wedding. The rest of the movie shows ruins, including World War II detritus and the temple at Vassai/Bassae, extremely bloody bull-fights, and an otherworldly hospital.

Méditerranée is morbid, insect buzzing is as much the soundtrack as the composed one of Antoine Duhamel. It's not much of a surprise that it didn't really get distributed outside Europe. Pollet's movie l'Ordre, which is a documentary about a leper colony, is further evidence of his obsession. The cycle of life is turned into something macabre, with the idea being that an impostor is waiting to take over the reins from you.

The imagination of the directors is a huge conceit, an outmoded conceit. Viewers who think that Méditerranée quotations in Godard's recent Film Socialisme show otherwise, think again, Godard was always of the same cloth as Pollet, quoting TS Eliot in Eloge de l'Amour, seeing Roman soldiers march over the landscape. It's an imagination that I lost myself in though, but accepting a cultural narrative like this is going to be a tall order for most in a post-modern era.


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