Lemming (2005) (France)

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Lemming (2005) (France)

Postby hengcs » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:39 am

Director: Dominik Moll
Cast: Laurent Lucas, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Charlotte Rampling, Andr Dussollier

The official site

This film opens the Cannes Film Festival 2005.

After inviting one's boss and wife to a dinner, the relationship between a young model couple faces challenges ...

My thoughts ...

-- i guess most audience will leave the theater with much discussion/debate ... such as the significance of Lemmings (in this film) ... afterall, it is named the title ... how it parallels the character(s)/plot ...

(i) e.g., are we just as suicidal in the way we think, behave, react, etc? (i.e., do people over react to situations? do we "think" too much of what has actually happened? do we aggravate the situation than necessary? etc) ... in other words, could life have been better if we are less susceptible ...

(ii) e.g., can we re-live after death (either as supernatural beings or by possessing others) ... and how abt something down to earth, can we sprung back from a "suicidal" (catastrophic) event ... etc

(iii) e.g., are they just some "unwelcome guests", who go ahead and destroy life/peace ... just like the boss and his wife ...

as usual, some people will be delighted by the "open" interpretation (so that one can convince family and friends of their point of views); while some people will hate it (wondering if the film is all reality, some imagination, or includes the supernatural) ...

-- technically ... great cast, all the 4 main characters acted well ... ... but i guess we have to mention Charlotte Rampling ... she will really haunt you with her presence ... scary ... you can tell from this movie poster ...

-- also, what is a thriller without a great soundtrack ... it does create the desired atmosphere ... i doubt the film will be as thrilling and suspenseful without the soundtrack ...

-- if you insist on a "complaint", the film may feel occasionally long, and for me, after the dinner scene, whereby Charlotte Rampling issued her warning, the "predictability does set in ... you expect the perfect model couple to face challenges in their relationship ... history does repeat itself ...

Recommended (though I have to admit that the film feels occasionally long) ... if you like the film, it is really thrilling and suspenseful; if you dont, it can seem rather odd/weird ... at the end of the film, you are made to wonder if everything did happen ... or is a large portion of it just a figment of one's imagination ...

Re: Lemming (2005) (France)

Postby hengcs » Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:39 am

An interview with the director

Re: Lemming (2005) (France)

Postby justindeimen » Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:24 am


Lemming Review

A childless, young upwardly mobile couple have recently moved into Bel Air, France after the breadwinner, Alain Getty (Laurent Lucas), is offered a prominent engineering post at a home automation development firm. His waifish plain-jane wife, Benedicte (Charlotte Gainsbourg), stays home to fix up the new house for their idyllic and promising futures together. On the other end of the age and marriage spectrum are Alains boss, Richard (Andre Dussollier) and his wife Alice Pollock (Charlotte Rampling) who are bitterly unhappy, jaded and loveless.

Rampling, who ages beautifully here, is the films undisputed ace in the hole. Alices dour disposition, invective barbs and countenance bears years of experience and portrays a failing resilience. She unsettles the characters and audience through sheer concentration in her eyes, fueled by sexual psychosis and misanthropic menace. She proves indispensable in Dominik Molls Lemming by embodying the essence of the films desire to be inscrutable, sinister and haunting.

After a riled dinner invitation from the Gettys to the Pollocks, their conversance brings together unexpected revelations and nasty consequences for the young couple. Much like Mike Nichols classic 1966 meditation on adult relationships in Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, there is so much more to be said for what stays undisclosed than what is eventually revealed in this tense chamber piece when the worlds of these contrasting marriages collide. I would go amiss if I didnt offer up a caveat before anyone embarks on this film, since one should not go into this with preconceptions of the plot from mere synopsis and should shed presumptions about its utterly fluid and amorphous genre.

Ambiguity is the main agenda when it comes to Lemming and is wide open to interpretations that correspond with its intrinsic logic. A supernatural, metaphysical appeal is absorbed into the reaching and mind-warping narrative that is telling of the impacts towards bourgeois ennui that are brought upon by sudden and unwelcome confrontations with the couples hidden and tacit insecurities. It never betrays the overwrought and complex buildup to its atmosphere of foreboding thats layered with a compellingly portentous and minimalist sound design brilliantly augmenting the ominous quality of its anxious interactions.

Right at its core, Lemming is a tale of imaginative and capricious parallels that is executed with Lynchian bravura at its major highs but ends up tangling itself with structural knots during its manic lows. Apart from its digressions concerning supernatural connotations and over-the-top reactions, the overly patient and disquieting approach draws a certain semblance to Hanekes Cache in the structuring of quaint suburban lives dealing with intrusion and its subsequent disintegration of those lives. Eccentricies and composed sensibilities clash and constantly pound through the faade of marriage with its simmering betrayal and analogous coincidences. A lingering sense of melancholy fused with some searing and blackly comic humour (as life tends to encompass) backdrops the enigmatic lemming found in the Gettys sink pipes whose very inauspicious nature is a metaphor to the humans own emotional sandbags.

The pantomimic attempts at intrigue in the films latter half with an increased emphasis on shadowy representations leaves much to our imaginations, often leaving us alone in its translation. Ratiocinating the narrative through conventional means will lead nowhere as Moll constantly effleurages his riddle by adding on more questions than answers. Patience is indeed a virtue when it is attributed to this anticlimactic effort. It plays on different levels and added dimensions where a heuristic approach tends to tell more lies than truths. Lemming is a fine cinematic example of the nothingness of everything, the surrealistic picture of a descent into paranoia and resentment thats most engaging after the credits start to roll and Mama Cass starts to croon.


Re: Lemming (2005) (France)

Postby trevor826 » Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:03 pm

Interesting comments justindeimen, can't wait to see how the film stands up to them now.

b.t.w. what did you do, eat a couple of dictionaries before collating your notes?

Cheers Trev.

Re: Lemming (2005) (France)

Postby justindeimen » Fri Aug 25, 2006 3:19 pm

No just tend to be overly discursive in reviews due to habit from classes I suppose.

Re: Lemming (2005) (France)

Postby justindeimen » Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:52 pm

Just received the order I placed with Amazon, but looks like hardcoded subtitles. Anyone see it through DVD?

Re: Lemming (2005) (France)

Postby trevor826 » Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:25 am

I do have a video copy of the film from the Artificial Eye dvd, thankfully it didn't have burnt in subs plus there were quite a few extras.

I still haven't watched the film yet though.

Cheers Trev.

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