Two bumbling store clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. In order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera, with a budget of zero dollars.
Agnes Jaoui plays a local political candidate Agathe Villanova, who returns to her childhood home in the south of France in order to help her sister Florence (Pascale Arbillot) sort through... See full summary »
This is an old-school Fremch movie by old-school French director Bertrand Blier. The story is about an alcoholic writer (Jean Dujardin) who lives in an isolated luxury villa in what I'd guess is the South of France. Today there are probably very few writers, alcoholic or otherwise, who could ever afford such a villa (unless, of course, they are screenwriters who write bad Hollywood rom-coms), but a lot of this film is kind of anachronistic. The central conceit involves an unexpected, very annoying visitor who shows up at the villa and represents the lead character's brain tumor. The visitor, like a tumor, eventually takes over the protagonist's life.
This movie is very talky and cerebral, not only compared to Hollywood movies, but even compared to more modern-day French ones. It doesn't have the usual car chases or explosions, but French movies have a tradition of being made for mature adults--obviously, there are plenty of movies made for the 14-25-year-old demographic if that's what you want, but it's not really what anyone should expect from a director like Blier. The cancer as an intruding human visitor conceit might be a little hard to swallow , but it does capture both the tragedy and absurdity of a disease that comes along suddenly and strikes down mature adults while they're still in their prime.
I'm also not sure the cancer is the only symbolism here. The writer is alone in his villa except for a few servants and his very young, strangely silent mistress (Christa Theret), who does little more than swim around the pool in a butt-hugging one-piece bathing suit, strip out of said bathing suit while the man and his tumor look on, and then later ride the protagonist in a sex scene while his cancer lies beside him and distracts him. I kind of of got the idea Theret's character wasn't any more real then the guy playing the brain tumor, but regardless, SHE certainly would have some appeal to the 14-25 demographic (having only recently starred in the French teen film "LOL")as well as being a fantasy figure for middle-age men (ennui-filled older men with much, much younger mistresses IS definitely an element of old-school French film--see Blier's most famous film "Beau Pere" for example).
One film this kind of reminds me is the Bernard Rose indie film "Ivan's Ecstasy", which was also about a middle-age man in his prime wasting away from cancer. But that film was more flat-out depressing while this film goes for absurdist black comedy (and is a lot easier to watch). Of course, it's always much easier to make films about youth and love than lost youth and death, but the latter is a big part of life as well. I'm glad there are still a few films around that aren't afraid to tackle something like this.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?