Production compaines: F Comme Film, Studio Canal, France 2 Cinéma, BIM Distribuzione, Canal+, TPS Star, Eurimages, Cinémage 3, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Région Ile-de-France
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Director: Alain Resnais
Producer: Jean-Louis Livi
Screenwriter: Alex Reval, Laurent Herbiet
Starring: André Dussollier as Georges Palet, Sabine Azéma as Marguerite Muir, Emmanuelle Devos as Josepha, Mathieu Amalric as Bernard de Bordeaux, Anne Consigny as Suzanne Palet, Michel Vuillermoz as Lucien d'Orange, Annie Cordy as la dame de l'immeuble de Marguerite, Nicolas Duvauchelle as Jean-Mi, Roger Pierre as Marcel Schwer, Paul Crauchet as le 1er patient, Jean-Michel Ribes as le 2ème patient, Sara Forestier as Elodie
When the imaginative Georges (Dussollier) finds a wallet in a parking garage, he begins to wonder about the owner. He hands the wallet to a cop (Amalric) and goes home to his wife (Anne Consigny), with whom he has two adult children (Forestier and Vladimir Consigny). Meanwhile, the wallet's owner, Marguerite (Azema), also begins to wonder about this strange man who found it. But when they get in contact, strange obsessions lead to irrational decisions and actions. Or maybe they're just imagining what could possibly happen.
Frankly, by the time the film's plot unravels into farce, we're not really sure what's happening. But by then we don't care. We've been hooked from the opening scenes, which open up like Amelie with Edouard Baer's witty narration pondering fate while the voiced thoughts of Georges and Marguerite let us glimpse their fuzzy logic. And it's this confusion that makes the film so special, because it resolutely refuses to follow a neat and tidy narrative.
Resnais gives us the perspective of an omniscient god, as the camera soars down into scenes, following characters from overhead or behind while paying attention to tiny details. It's clever, witty filmmaking, punctuated with moments that are truly wonderful. And as these two people develop a kind of deranged hold on each other, the film slips into either fantasy or madness, with surreal scenes that are snappy and sassy but thoroughly confusing.
Yes, it feels indulgent, especially as we realise that the plot can't be trusted. The script continually suggests possible alternative outcomes, and yet we never predict where the story's headed. (Even after we've seen it, we're not quite sure where it's gone.) This is the kind of film that lingers in the mind and keeps us smiling, because we know how irrational but marvellous it is to latch on to a complete stranger in a way that makes no sense, like wild grass sprouting through a crack in the motorway.