Sunday, November 04, 2012

vintage Zulawski

Mes nuits sont plus belles que vos jours

(France, 1989, available on multi-region DVD)

Last night, I watched this film for the second time (the first time was in 1990!), and I felt it has kept remarkably well. It is essentially about two people losing their mind for different reasons, and clinging to words, their associations, rhymes and echoes, and to each other, to stay sane / alive if only for a couple of days longer. There is poetry in the increasingly random dialogue, much of which gets lost in translation so it is mainly recommended for those who can appreciate the French version.

Seeing the film as a vision of the world (just about) pre-internet, it is noteworthy that Dutronc’s character gives the world a programming language while the computer screens reveal that he’s losing his own language to an incurable disease. In this current age of “smart phones and stupid people” are we also losing our minds while improving the minds of our machines to perfection? Discuss. The story also predates political correctness and the TGV network – people fly from Paris to Biarritz, how antediluvian! The images are just as beautiful as they were 22 years ago (some stills featuring Sophie Marceau with not many clothes on are still making the rounds on tumblr!), so it’s almost a timeless classic.

Does anybody know whether the film was ever released in UK cinemas? The IMDB doesn't give a release date for it, but maybe they didn't bother adding all the dates for old films made before IMDB existed? But then again, they do list the release date for Germany (where I saw it).

PS I was shocked to hear one of the characters suggesting to the language-loss patient that he should substitute missing verbs with “schtroumpfer” (to smurf). I’ve said that so often (when trying to teach various languages to various people including my children) that I almost came to believe I invented it. Not sure whether I said this before the movie came out.

amazon.co.uk

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