The married Bongwan leaves home in the dark morning and sets off to work. The memories of the woman who left weigh down on him. That day Bongwan's wife finds a love note, bursts into the office, and mistakes Areum for the woman who left.
In her early thirties, broke, and in the wake of a humbling breakup, a spirited, yet rudderless young woman finds herself struggling to get by in the bustling Parisian metropolis; however, if she can make it there, she'll make it anywhere.
Twenty-one years ago, she ran away. And twenty-one years later, Carlotta (Marion Cotillard) is back from the void. But Ismael (Mathieu Amalric) has been busy rebuilding a life for himself with Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and working on his next feature film. As Ismael's trials and tribulations unfurl, so too do those of his film's protagonist: the idle, funny and reckless diplomat Ivan Dédalus (Louis Garrel). The character is a nod to the ghost of another of Desplechin's creations, the brother of Paul Dédalus, three-time hero of "My Sex Life - or How I Got Into an Argument," "A Christmas Tale" and "My Golden Days." A film within a film - and then some, Desplechin layers narrative upon narrative. With ISMAEL'S GHOSTS, Desplechin returns once more to the past, creating film after film as his way of stepping back in time, and proving yet again that his brand of genius lies in his ability to find light in the darkest of places.Written by
As many have said, the premise of this film is very good, but it is lost in a mess of structure that would shame must university film society. It is a number of stories within a story, which lose momentum as the film continues. The main plot is the sudden reappearance of a film maker's wife after an absence of 21 years, but this is submerged by unnecessary interludes.
I watched the film at the French Film Festival in Sydney, and throughout the film people trickled out, not returning. What kept me was the excellent acting as ever from Cotillard and Gainsbourg, but you honestly wonder why and how they signed up for such a messy screenplay.
If this film was a blind date, it would talk erratically at you for nearly two hours, then leave abruptly for no reason. Avoid.
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