Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:18 am 
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Old radicalism meets new, with an improvisatory fieel

Judith Davis sent an iPhone film to the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. She meant to attend but her purse was stolen, in it her passport, the day before departure, so she could not go. This somehow fits the improvisational and sudden feel of her energetic film about revolutionary and socialist impulses then and now, Sixties radicals grown old and their obstreperous offspring. Davis spoke in her video of working with her own little collective, whose performances reflect group decisions.

In the film, the protagonist, Angèle (Davis) is an idealistic urban planner confused about where her once radical parents, long separated, now stand, since they have made compromises to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Not only that, but today's Paris is a world where the spirit of 1968 seems long forgotten.

The movie is a blend, pretty successful because of the fresh energy of the action, between the story of Angèle's reunion with her long estranged mother Diane Sorel (Mireille Perrier, J’entends plus la guitare) and a love-and-like story of relations with an oddball group of kindred spirits and a new potential boyfriend, Saïd (Malik Zidi).

This involves the work of the collective group of improvisational actors of which Davis is a proud member, so there are, shall we say, "actorly" moments throughout, but this contributes to the lively energy of what is a film on the cusp of a certain French bourgeois experience: old radicalism meets new.

The turn comes when Angele suddenly learns from her father that her mother didn't ever mean to be as estranged as she has been but really had wanted the children to come and live in the country with her, years ago. The reunion strengthens Angèle's convictions, but also her family ties. Meanwhile, out in the country a wild performance by a commercial-aligned individual that feels like an extreme episode of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" leads to a sudden burnout and a new member of Angèle's troup of people gathered to find themselves.

If we realize that these are all performances, and the result a kind of Brechtian Alienation Effect, we can enjoy a very lively film that, despite its eccentricity and political high seriousness, is also at heart, as the happy ending shows, a love story.

Whatever Happened to My Revolution/Ce qu'il me reste de ma révolution, 88 mins., debuted in five French festivals starting with d'Angoulême 22 Aug. 2018. French theatrical release 3 Feb. 2019, with good reviews (AlloCiné press 3.6); Ouest France called it "Drôle et juste." Screened for this review as part of the UniFrance-Film Society of Lincoln Center Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, Mar. 2019.

Saturday, March 2, 3:30pm (Q&A with Judith Davis)
Monday, March 4, 1:30pm

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

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