|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Nes en 68' is an ambitious film. It spans, in the 173 minutes version
I saw, four decades of political and erotic upheavals in a group of
lovers and friends.
Catherine, Yves and Herve are three students at the Sorbonne who participate in the events of '68. They are 20 years old and a loose erotic trio. Catherine gets pregnant (by Yves, we learn) and aborts putting her life to serious risk;in the meantime, the boys are involved in the Parisian riots.
Somehow things get to a halt, and, with a group of revolutionary friends they go to Lot, to an abandoned farm, to form a community "outside the constraints of the capitalistic world". Then sex happens, joints pass around, songs, running naked and giggling on the beautiful plain just below, and the thing starts getting stale, causing the gradual breakdown of the group. Things happen. Only Catherine stays firmly there, with her two children, Ludmilla and Boris, helped by her neighbor Marysa who has a son, Christophe, the same age to Ludmilla. Yves has returned to Paris, and Herve is in prison for an attributed murder.
Then the next generation comes on the scene, and the agenda changes painfully. New political issues, unexpected and opened up by the events of May '68: the sexual revolution paved the way for the homosexual citizenship, but not for the AIDS epidemic Christophe and Boris suffer; nor the opening up of and towards other ethnic groups to the questioning of the 'marital' identity Ludmilla suffers after her marriage to Farivar, an Iranian.
The Fall happens. Aides happens. The sans papiers in the St-Bernard Church happen, along with Mitterand, Chirac, biological agriculture, the Internet, le Pacs, the 11/9. The film ends with the election of Nicolas Sarkozy.
The film is a mixed success, if at all, though it has its own brand of interest. As we progressively get to feel, the title means those born by 68 lovemaking (namely Ludmilla and Boris), and those that are born-again, that is symbolically, the 68 generation. The film suffers from the sense of what it wants to be, without sufficiently working out the interesting details and ideas that appear throughout. For example, one of the merits of the film is the portrayal of Catherine's neighbors Maryse and Serge. Another is the friendship of the two women, Catherine and Maryse, and yet another the way we come to appreciate Catherine's character from a, at first sight, frivolous to an unassuming presence, enduring and working. But here problems begin. Laetitia Casta although involved is essentially miscast.
Up to the middle of the film I was titillated into guessing what direction the film was heading to. How it manages to handle in a telegraphic manner the situations presented is due to the scenario I think and the evaporation of the directors' humor as the film progresses; the '68 period was handled with touches of sometimes imperceptible humor, but the second part falls bizarrely flat. Take for example the obvious scene of Boris and Ludmilla mildly ridiculing their father who is immersed, in books about the prevailing -isms. Although this does not wound esthetically the scene, it comes after arguably the worst scene in the film where Boris and his lover in a somewhat heated, and sentimental, dialog about Pacs - then disaster happens:we get a full view of the room: in the corner, a TV screen shows the twin towers in flames. I don't know if this was intended as an irony for Pacs, but it comes off smacking of ideology.
As with the hilariously unconvincing make-up. As the film progresses, unaided by make-up, or character developing, or by not following the patterns it sets (ex. the very interesting libidinal tension between mother and daughter, or why Christophe gets out of scene tightening up dramatically Boris' bad conscience but just for a glimpse) not only it becomes unconvincing, it becomes an anxiety-ridden endeavor to handle as many issues as possible. I do not have a problem with characters befallen with all the plagues of the world, unless the handling makes an effort; for an idea of fate is for sure called in, as when, in the end the two friends Yves and Herve meet by chance, in a taxi, to redeem it all, or just to give it a sense of purpose. So what do you do about fate or allegory?(One can say that Catherine dying is an allegory for Utopian and Veme Republique France dying.) The directors seem uneasy with that in my opinion. The final shot tells so. The young, the new demonstrators at the Bastille mingle in the shot with Yves' face as he with mellowing nostalgia stubbornly watches them as the car speeds away. For, to make the pun come full circle, the film has at the end its own brand of interest, as many post-68 ideologues found and founded.
Having lived through the Student Riots in Paris, May, 1968, the United
States Civil unrest in the 60's, AIDS in the 80's and advancement of
technology in the 90's to the present, I can relate to everything in
this movie. Perhaps, younger people may not quite understand the
intensity of this movie and its historic nostalgia. I highly recommend
this movie as a viewpoint from the French point of view during highly
The film deals impeccably with disaster that ranged from death, imprisonment and the glimpse of the Twin Towers.
I would like to have seen the friendships of the people developed a tad bit more than what they were; however, the viewer can leave all to the imagination, or, perhaps relate in one's own life.
A two hour and forty-six minute soap opera about dozens of people I
didn't care about for even ONE minute. Not even for one SECOND.
A heavy, plodding, totally humorless and lifeless look at the most exciting and eventful 40 years in the history of the world. I refuse to believe it was as boring in France during those decades as this movie makes it seem.
I love France, the French language, French movies, and the charming, cranky, creatively self-centered French people who love their country so much that they sincerely believe it's the center of the world. They deserve better than this dead, stupid, catatonically boring, navel-gazing, leaden record of their recent history. They've made some fantastic movies, but this is not one of them.
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