En attendant le dluge (2004) After We're Gone
Directed by Damien Odoul
Starring Pierre Richard, Anna Mouglalis, Damien Odoul
So Damien Odoul, darling of the critics following your directorial debut with Le Souffle, what do you do when you want to make an arty-farty movie?
Simple, gather a cast of non-actors plus 1 or 2 friends and a couple of real actors (the first 2 listed above) oh and if your vain enough, give yourself a pivotal role, take them to some out of the way chateau and let them behave like pretentious arses. Steal a bit of Shakespeare; pretend youre as talented as Lars von Trier, Peter Greenaway, Mike Figgis or Godard and Voila!
This is a pure vanity project, written, directed and starring Damien Odoul, the whole show revolves around him despite the fact that he doesnt have the talent to do any of these things very well (certainly not based on this film).
Jean-Ren is old and lives in an old chateau with a simple-minded friend/servant Pipo since his wife died 15 years earlier. Given the news that hes dying, he decides to hire a theatrical troupe to put on a play based on the legend of Dionysus at his home purely for him.
Gradually the troupe arrive bit by bit and prove to be a collection of misfits with emotional hang-ups and egotistical issues, now the problems really begin as they prance (or ponce) around the chteau arguing, destroying plates etc, getting all introspective (as only stage actors can) and generally behaving like unruly prats until in the end, Jean-Ren elects to stage his own play based on his forth coming death and a short time after the performance, he dies.
The scenes jump all over the place with no purpose, characters converse with others or themselves in an entirely egotistical manner, oh yes darling, I am an Actor! so all I can discuss is me, me and of course, me!
Lars von Trier did the whole nut jobs let loose to far better and more honest effect in The Idiots, Peter Greenaway is a master of making beautiful albeit often non-sensical films, Figgis manages to at least keep some restraint on his cast during his largely improvised pieces. And Godard, poor old Godard gets praised for his influence on modern cinema but also takes the blame for influencing pretentious pieces of tosh like this.
So any saving graces? Anna Mouglalis, not for her performance but just for her beauty, a haunting elegant beauty that at least makes the film slightly bearable, thankfully a fairly short running time, 70 mins, also I know from the DVD extras that the performers had a great time making the film, shame this couldn't be carried over to the audience though!
P.S Like most films on initial viewing, I have retained a copy and will watch it again in the near future to either justify or change my opinion.
BBFC rated 15