When the car of Georges, a Parisian architect, breaks down on the motorway, he is helped by Serge, a mechanic and garage owner, who lives in a remote Jura hamlet. The two men, although they...
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Maurício do Valle,
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When the car of Georges, a Parisian architect, breaks down on the motorway, he is helped by Serge, a mechanic and garage owner, who lives in a remote Jura hamlet. The two men, although they do not seem to have anything in common, develop an unexpected friendship and live a few days together before Georges finally resumes his ordinary life.Written by
I know for a fact that « Passe-montagne », the first movie directed by Jean-François Stévenin, a very good actor, is regarded as a cult film by the intelligentsia, notably by Boorman , Truffaut and Cassavetes, three filmmakers I have very much respect for, but I'm afraid I won't join their league in this case.
Yet, before watching the film, I had found the argument inviting. The movie indeed concerns two men who have apparently nothing in common: Georges, a Parisian architect (chubby Jacques Villeret, not yet sapped by alcoholism), and Serge (a slightly brooding, mysterious-looking Stévenin). When George's car breaks down on the motorway, the two fellows are driven by the circumstances to get to know each other and to become friends. All this in the solitude of the Jura mountains. The trouble is that the film looks as if years and years have passed when it finally ends. Nothing exciting ever happens. When the characters do talk, not only don't they say anything interesting but they are hardly audible. To make matters worse, when local people appear in (overlong) sequences, they are content to holler improvised lines and this time around they are downright impossible to understand. Sure what they say is uninteresting so it does not really matter but how boring and annoying these scenes are!
In fact, Stévenin seems persuaded that filming people without interfering or organizing the scene (this is true for the group scenes) will make him draw closer to reality. Well, the effect is counterproductive, at least as far as I am concerned. I did not feel I was in the company of real people, but I could see myself yawning in front of my TV screen, hoping the film would soon finish. I was fed up with seeing two characters walking in the snow, smoking, eating, waiting Moreover the way Stévenin presents the people from Jura is very unpleasant. Are they actually all the hillbillies he shows us? We never see them working or in contact with nature. All they do is blah blah, smoke, laugh stupidly, drink and revel. If I lived in the Jura mountains, I would file a complaint for moral damage!
One last thing I thought bad is the use of music. Stévenin probably had too tight a budget to afford the services of a composer, so he used an excerpt from the score of 'Barocco' (André Téchiné 1976) by Philippe Sarde. Why not, it is beautiful music, but why on earth did he put the same piece three or four times haphazardly? When the music is heard it does not make any sense. It is romantic while what you see, for instance, is the houses of a small village. Just what Mr. So and So would do clumsily adding music to his home movie!
This is of course a personal opinion. Not everybody will share my point of view, but sincerely this is what I felt. But I won't hold it against Jean-François Stévenin. He is an excellent actor and I will always be happy to see him in a movie made by another director!
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