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Michèle, 20 years old, feels terrible after having broken up with her boy-friend. She meets Francois, who's a veterinarian and jewish. Michèle decides to convert into Judaism because she has to believe in something, if not in someone. Written by
You doing okay?
Yeah, I'm a Buddhist now.
Then you're doing fine. What's that involve?
Lots of meditation... You've gotta work toward enlightment, nothingness.
Yes, all of this positive energy is exhausting.
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In the end credits, François says, "Michelle, did you do that on purpose?" See more »
Reading the message boards and some of the reviews for this film, I was amused (and I confess, a bit surprised) at how few viewers seemed to grasp the point. This is the sort of film that you have to think about while watching; it requires something on the part of the viewer. It's not meant to be passive entertainment. Yes, Tatou's character is annoying. Yes, Baer's character is irritating. But that's the whole idea. Tatou's "Michele" is a shallow, superficial fashion model in search of a "great cause" to identify with. (Of course, we know that no top model was ever like that, don't we!) Her constant reading of self-help books and what I like to call "bathtub philosophy" (like bathtub gin, it is home made and of dubious quality) leads her on a "spiritual quest" in the modern sense of the buzzword that spirituality has become--the search for a feel-good factor that will make her feel better about herself, her decisions and her life. Baer's "François" considers himself to be above all need for religion, heritage, even his own history. He's too intellectual (in his own eyes) to need any of those "crutches". And yet he is drawn into a relationship with the dysfunctional, needy Michele because neither one is happy with themselves and both hope to find someone to fill the gaping hole in their lives.
I have known many people of this type personally...they wander from one idea, one philosophy, one country, career or "lifestyle" to another without ever really committing to anything. That's why it says "To be continued" at the end of the film: these people will search forever, without ever seeing what's right in front of their noses. Their personal movie will go on...and on...and on. When the lights come up at the end of the show of their lives, Death will take them totally by surprise.
At first, I found the choppy editing annoying and confusing; it looks like a poorly made end-of-term project for film school. But that also helps make a point. Real life doesn't follow a nice, smooth script, and you can't edit the final rushes to suit yourself. It is what it is, with all its mistakes, out-takes, missed cues and forgotten lines. This is one of those minor films that can grow on you with time, if you learn to see beyond the surface into the ideas behind the emotions. It's only "shallow" if you fixate on the reflections...the water underneath is deep, and full of surprises. No, it's not Oscar material. It will never have mass appeal. But of its kind, it's considerably better than many viewers seem to realise.
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