I’d heard about this movie from somewhere, I think one of my friends told me about the movie as possibly as an example of good French cinema, or maybe that’s two different stories. Whatever it was it was recommended to me as a good film and what French cinema is about. On those recommendations I’ll never actively seek out an example of French cinema again!
The film was awful. It’s a collection of stories that are linked in some way, although the links are extremely tenuous, and the film clips back and forth between them with no apparent reasoning. Each of the cuts is harsh, unforgiving and unexpected, and you find you have to take time to re-orientate yourself before you work out where or why.
To be quite frank there’s no real understanding of what the movie is about until you listen to the two Director interviews and he explains what it is about. Let me give you that benefit now. It’s about how impersonal we have all become, and how we no longer connect with each other between people in the streets, friends, family or generations.
Armed with that knowledge you suddenly understand what it’s all about, but to be quite frank, that idea could have been covered with two or three of the scenes on the movie, and covered very well. Looking back on it, once I understood the message, I really did feel like I’d watched scenes of repetition and filling until the key points of the main storyline came through.
I could have done without all the side stories, stuck with the main storyline of the couple going out together and the dysfunctional son living with his grandfather. That story alone would have told what the Director wanted, and much clearer than the mish-mash of scenes and stories that came about. Listening to the Director talk, you almost feel he built the movie around his ideas for the street scene, and the rest is afterthought.
As for the DVD, it was awful. A couple of interviews with the Director and a making of documentary. The copy I had was not the one with the commentary, which may have revealed even more, but it wouldn’t have made for a better movie.