Sunday, March 04, 2007

À Tout De Suite : Grade B


À Tout De Suite (2004)

Isild Le Besco, Ouassini Embarek, Director Benoît Jacquot

French, subtitles (B&W)

When you’re 19 years old, your brain is not even fully formed so it’s no wonder if you lack judgment. Le Besco is swept away in love/sex/infatuation for a studly young fellow she meets at a dance club, because when you’re 19, love/sex/infatuation seems to define a relationship more real than any other. Alas, her fellow turns out to be a criminal and must go on the run after a bank robbery in which two people were killed. Since she “loves” him, naturally she leaves her family without a word and runs off with him to Spain then Morocco and Greece. Inevitably, he ditches her and she is left penniless and alone in a foreign country. She uses her wits and sexuality to make do until finally rescued by her Parisian parents. Has she learned anything; grown up at all? One imagines yes, but the movie only hints at a transformation. So what is the point then? It is simply a study of 19-year old confusion and searching for meaning. As that, it is pretty good. Le Besco’s face is not typical for a movie star, and that makes her more real, forcing you to look deeper to her psyche. The film’s style is that grainy, black-and-white look of a Goddard movie from the 1960’s, with beautiful sets and long, lingering, silent camera shots. I like that, but in fact this is not a 1960’s film, so the style is a gratuitous homage. All très French.

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