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N. a pris les dés... (1971)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror
Long before there was any notion of "remix culture," famed French writer Alain Robbe-Grillet created this radical re-imagining of his own feature EDEN AND AFTER (which no doubt to most ... See full summary »


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Cast overview:
Catherine Jourdan
Pierre Zimmer
Richard Leduc Richard Leduc
Lorraine Rainer Lorraine Rainer
Sylvain Corthay Sylvain Corthay
Juraj Kukura
Jarmila Kolenicová Jarmila Kolenicová ... (as Jarmila Kolenicova)
Catherine Robbe-Grillet Catherine Robbe-Grillet
Frantisek Gervai Frantisek Gervai
Ludovít Króner ... (as Ludwik Kroner)


Long before there was any notion of "remix culture," famed French writer Alain Robbe-Grillet created this radical re-imagining of his own feature EDEN AND AFTER (which no doubt to most viewers had already been quite radical enough). In the 1970 original, perverse games amongst student types at a Mondrian-inspired cafe are kicked up a notch when a mysterious older stranger (Pierre Zimmer) appears to offer a hallucinatory "fear powder." A young woman (Catherine Jourdan) who ingests it finds herself trapped in a bizarro world of sex, violence and surrealism, first at a maze-like factory, then in Tunisia where youths are subjected to S&M tortures in striking all-white settings. This enigmatic narrative and its outré content are pushed several degrees closer to total madness in N. TOOK THE DICE, which scrambles an already ambiguous chronology to the point of freeform collage. A voiceover narrator provides the only semblance of logic in a mash-up that incorporates not just footage from EDEN...

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Drama | Horror


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N. Took the Dice See more »

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Edited from Eden and After (1970) See more »

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L'éden et après Recut

Robbe is a *bleeping* bastard. Making a nice to look at and sort of interesting but somewhat empty film first just to later make another film with the "same footage" (I'll come back to this later) that builds on the knowledge the viewer has from the first film and makes it an intellectually rich, associative extravaganza. Instead of misleadingly showing the coffeehouse scenes first and the fantasy later like in 'Eden and After' (a structure that makes the long fantasy scenes far outstay their welcome, IMO) the fantasy footage is directly juxtaposed with the corresponding scenes in the coffeehouse, especially in the first half of the film. He makes no secret of the oriental scenes being part of a game the characters play. What sounds like "dumbing down" in fact makes for a wild, free-flowing structure with little to hold on to if you haven't seen 'Eden and After'. In the mind of the viewer the first movie is always an integral part of this one.

What I read about it before watching it made it sound like it mostly just takes footage from 'Eden and After' and rearranges it to fit some pattern to evoke different emotions and create new meaning compared to the first film. This makes it sound like an experiment in editing and structure more than anything else, something that is more fun for the creator than for the viewer. But it's a lot more than just a different movie by design. What seems to have happened here is that Robbe took all the footage he shot for 'Eden and After' and made a different film out of it through the magic of editing. There isn't all that much footage from 'Eden and After', maybe even none at all, it's difficult to tell without an in-depth comparison because of all the alternate takes. But there are also many scenes that don't have an equivalent in 'Eden and After', even if the settings are largely the same, naturally.

There is some dialogue between the characters in the movie although you almost never SEE them talk because they are off-screen at the moment they open their mouths or you see them from behind and so on. See what happened there? That afterthought-dub isn't done perfectly, sometimes it doesn't really seem to match with what the actors play (eg.: the character delivers his dialogue furiously but visually he looks considerably more calm) but you certainly get the idea of who says what and what's going on. The film is mostly narrated by the "dice thrower", though, who kind of takes the position of the filmmaker. His narration, sometimes on-screen, sometimes through voice-over, often helps by sort of giving you the idea of the theme that links those images together and raises some interesting questions on the way.

What's also interesting is that I have a VHS rip that is different to the DVD version, apart from being fullscreen and looking awful. At least the opening is very different, it uses alternate takes (yes, again) although the rhythm and structure is very much maintained. It would be interesting to further explore the differences between those two versions.

And so I'll leave you with the narrator's final words.

"The images that your eyes steal here and there are only images. They have no meaning attached as an inherent nature. They have no other significance than that which you choose to give. An order that's reassuring or desperate. It's you who makes it. Out of laziness...or fear."

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