Posted by: kfugrip | July 8, 2007

An adventure in unknown quantities.

Have you ever read a small and vague blurb about a film and decided to go and see it, knowing very little about any of the actors or the director’s work?  I did this yesterday and I dragged Kelly with me (because she is a good sport when it comes to things like this, re: Tulse Luper Suitcases).  The blurb I read mentioned two women looking for their lost loves after WWI as the process of accounting for all the war dead is nearing it’s final stages.  Sounded interesting but the blurb was a cut so shallow that I feel the film I saw bared almost no resemblance to the description.

Life and Nothing But, by Bertrand Tavernier is a sweeping epic about the separation of facts and history.   Philip Noriet as Major Deleplane is the engine driving an entire community devoted to the missing in action and dead associated with the war.  The two aforementioned women cross paths with Deleplane and one, Irene, falls in love with him.  We’re talking epic here people, stuff like that happens in epic films.

After I left the theater I wasn’t a big fan of this movie.  There were many enjoyable passages and some smart writing but it left me cold much of the time.  Most of the performances were strong but one of the leads was a bit over the top for my tastes and I found it distracting.

As I’ve let the film settle within me it has grown a bit in stature.  There are so many things going on, and some of it is not as clear as it should be due to Tavernier’s choices, but much of it is well done and intelligent.  I can’t give more than 3 stars for it’s weaknesses were distracting but I thought it was better after a night of sleep than just after the viewing.

For my 72nd film, and my first from Tavernier, it was an interesting choice and in one of my favorite theaters, Walter Reade.  With any luck I’ll be able to see Look Back in Anger and Kes later next week, as they are playing during a festival of British films at Walter Reade.



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