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Ana Cristina de Oliveira,
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Originality of voice in this world of dream-logic.
Guiraudie seems to be carving out a very individual niche in French cinema, and this seems to me to be his most consistent film to date, though the others are certainly worth looking at. Here he creates a small, discreet universe with its own rules, currency, economy, political struggles and caste system. To an extent this alternative world reflects our own, but, thankfully, this is not some "clever" allegory about contemporary life, but rather a hermetically sealed dream world. But whereas most cinematic dream worlds concentrate on the bizarre or the nightmarish or the flamboyant, Guiraudie's oneiric space more closely resembles the real world of dreams - at least of those rambling but strangely coherent dreams that leave you tired the next morning (at least I know what I'm talking about... maybe not everyone has this kind of dream, but I do). It is a world that verges on the banale at times, but which also verges on the poetic at others. It's a perplexing but highly stimulating (and often funny) film to watch, and personally I am grateful for any 90 minutes in the cinema which feels completely fresh, original and quite unlike anything else I have seen. There may be "better" films this year, but I treasure this one for being unique: there is complete originality of voice here, and a great ambition to try and achieve something banale but at the same time ineffable - an ambition in which, amazingly, Guiraudie very nearly succeeds.
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