Monday, October 13, 2008 at 10:18 p.m. | Posted by McGarmott
This is the nineteenth film I saw at the 13th Pusan International Film Festival.
Man, I wished I had gone to see the Chinese film Jalainur instead. I keep hearing all about the heartachingly beautiful cinematography of that film. The thing is, it was between Jalainur and this film for the last film of the day and I picked this one as I figured it might be more important to see a film from a country whose films I have not come across before.
In this case, Switzerland. This film by Lionel Baier essentially portrays the metamorphosis of a young man living in isolated la Vallée de Joux named François, from an amiable if somewhat aimless Medieval French graduate, to an opportunistic bastard by the end of the film. It starts with him following the suggestion of his girlfriend Christine in getting a job with the local newspaper, one of his responsibilities being to take over the film review section. Where his predecessor prefers to write positive reviews of the weekly cinema club screenings with his unique writing style, François prefers instead to sound academic - by plagiarising reviews from an established film criticism journal.
Banned from the local cinema club due to his (or more accurately, the film criticism journal's) rancidly unfavourable reviews, he defiantly goes to Lausanne instead to catch the films, weekly. Which is where he gets seduced by the liberal, dominating Rosa, an established film critic for L'Epoque. What follows are sex, betrayal, and neglect of Christine which eventually turns violent.
In the meantime, the film itself seems to be reflecting everything Lionel Baier learnt from watching the French New Wave. I don't really know what they are, but it just has that air of pretentious to some of the stylistic choices taken in the film. (Okay, I know of one - the way he does jump cuts. It's so French New Wave.) Then there's the decision to shoot the film in black & white. In fact, I stayed back to listen to the Q&A with Baier present - but unfortunately my knowledge of Korean is nonexistent while my French is shit, so I couldn't catch his explanation about why he chose to shoot in black & white. I did catch that Baier likes the work of Rohmer and van Sant.
The sex scenes are all erotic and not graphic - unless you consider chopsticks on a man's balls graphic.
An okay film, but nothing particularly appealing about it. One could probably say it's not bad for a student film. (Though I'm not saying it is a student film.)
How Good I Think The Film Is: 6.5/10
How Much I Liked It: 5/10
Links to the other 30 reviews of films seen at the film festival, and other articles.