A young filmmaker in 1960s Paris juggles directing a cheesy sci-fi debacle, directing his own personal art film, coping with his crumbling relationship with his girlfriend, and a new-found infatuation with the sci-fi film's starlet.
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Gerald V. Casale,
Paris, 1969. The filming of a sci-fi movie set in the distant year 2000 is in trouble. The director's obsession with the actress who plays the sexy secret agent Dragonfly has clouded his judgment and the film has no ending. A young American, in Paris to document his life on film with total honesty, is brought in to finish the movie with a bang. This proves to be difficult when the line between his fantasy life and reality becomes blurred, and he finds himself seduced by the charms of Dragonfly. Written by
A Likable Love Letter to 1960s Eurocinema with Marvy Mellow Music
Paul Ballard (Jeremy Davies), a young film editor living in Paris in 1969, gets his big directorial break when DRAGONFLY, the sexy futuristic (it's set in 2001!) spy flick he's editing, loses not one but two directors. It should be noted that Paul's been filching black-and-white film from the DRAGONFLY production company to make his own rather self-indulgent cinema verite film at home. Once he's at the helm of the big-budget SF schlockfest, Paul has a hard time distinguishing between real life and reel life as he falls in love with the bewitching Valentine (Angela Lindvall), an activist-turned-actress making her film debut as "Agent Code Name: Dragonfly." Think of this comedy-drama as a sort of 8½ or DAY FOR NIGHT for the baby boomer generation. It's clear that writer/director Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola's son, big shock :-) has great affection for the art of filmmaking in general and for kooky, cheesy 1960s Eurocinema romps such as BARBARELLA and DANGER: DIABOLIK in particular (neat in-joke: the leading man of those films, John Philip Law, appears in CQ as Dragonfly's spymaster). The score by the appropriately-named Mellow captures the mod mood music of the era delightfully. At times Paul's self-absorption became as grating to me as it did to his long-suffering girlfriend Marlene (Elodie Bouchez), but the spoofery of filmmaking and the 1960s won me over. The excellent cast helps a lot, particularly Dean Stockwell's touching turn as Paul's father, the ever-smooth Billy Zane as Dragonfly's revolutionary adversary/lover "Mr. E," and the hilarious performances of Giancarlo Giannini as a Dino deLaurentiis/Carlo Ponti-esque producer and Jason Schwartzman as the wild 'n' crazy replacement director who gets replaced himself after he breaks his leg in a sports car accident. Don't blink or you'll miss Roman and Jason's Oscar-winning kin Sofia Coppola cameoing as Giannini's mistress. I was also utterly charmed by model Angela Lindvall in her movie debut (art imitating life -- ain't it grand? :-). It's great fun to watch Lindvall switch from throaty-voiced siren Dragonfly onscreen to sweet, endearing animal lover Valentine offscreen, plus she's got the most expressive eyebrows since Eunice Gayson in DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. (My hubby would like me to point out that Leonard Nimoy and The Rock are tops in Expressive Eyebrows, Male Division! :-) Do rent the DVD version of CQ so you can also watch the entire film-within-the-film DRAGONFLY, which is to the CQ DVD what MANT! is to the MATINEE laserdisc (is MANT! on the MATINEE DVD, too? If not, it oughta be!) -- with enjoyable commentary by Lindvall, yet!
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