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Those who loved Graham yesterday shouldn't count on today. Those who love him today risk being heartbroken tomorrow... Suffering from recurring memory loss, Graham is restricted to a limited short-term memory. He forgets most things after only a few minutes. He no longer recognizes his wife Isabelle nor his young son Antoine nor his best friend Fred. Since each day is a new day, Graham copes with life by referring to the details of his little notebook, the defining key to his identity. He works as a photocopy clerk under the close watch of his sexy boss Sabine, who uses him to his libido's advantage. Pretty new temp Irene can't help falling for Graham's spontaneous charm. But how can Graham really fall in love with her when he sees each time as the first time? Irene is about to experience all new ways of romance. She'll just have to remember everything for the both of them. Everyone around Graham has their reasons why he should or shouldn't fully recover... Written by
I found this film enjoyably lightweight, like the sensation of discovering romance, a flirtation with potentially philosophical overtones that are serious enough to be enchanting but without being distracting.
Graham has short term memory loss (groan! Is this a rip-off of Memento?) . . . but wait a minute, see if the style attracts you before we look at the substance.
Fast-cutting shots (with almost a nod to À Bout de Soufflé) catch us effortlessly into the world that Graham and everyone around him has learnt to manage (He has a job doing photocopies in a large office). This is a world of romance and flirtation, but the women in his life are aware of his illness. Acknowledged influences include Japanese photography and Japanese bondage. The occasionally disjointed editing serves as a reminder of his mental state.
I invite you to go back in time, to think of your first date with someone who later became very special (or who might have been). Think of that moment, if you will, before that first kiss. Isn't there that point on a date where you both know it's going to happen? You can almost sense what it will be like. You can imagine that first brush of the lips, their breath against your skin, before passion locks your two souls together! Their mouth approaches yours, tentatively. Can you almost feel the moment stretch out in time?
A celebrated Japanese photographer, on the DVD featurette, explains how he uses objects to invade space and maintain continuity, extending intimacy beyond the instant of a still photograph. For Graham, that moment lasts a lifetime. He has to write notes to remind himself who he is in love with. His lover has the advantage that she knows his secrets, knows what turns him on, but can also delight in witnessing his newness, when each time is the first time. It's like a Groundhog Day in reverse, forever the thrill of the new.
In the story, complications set in when Graham 'sleeps with other people'. He maintains his childlike innocence and tries to be a decent, moral chap (made harder by being dashingly good looking). The people around him are faced with losing their own 'innocence' and the ingenuous beauty that goes with that. It is their personalities, rather than his, that face the fall from Eden. The whole story is told with a realistic, inquisitive, and sometimes kinky sexuality. Nudity is used to create a sense of wonder instead of the titters so common in a British movie or the embarrassment in an American one. With superb acting throughout, we can't help but admire how wonderfully at ease the French are with their bodies.
Novo does not have the impressiveness of Memento. Memento thought of the idea first. Novo is not a taut thriller. But it takes the device of short-term memory loss and uses it, even if it is with limited success, to say something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
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