À French Film

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I saw an intriguing and compelling French film last night. L’homme qui voulait vivre sa vie (the man who wanted to live his life) quite literally had me on the edge of my seat. Fortunately I was sitting on the front row of the collapsible tiered seating at Seven in Leeds (our brilliant local arts/culture/social centre) so I could lean forward and almost tip over without disturbing any other film-goers.

The film starts in an ordinary-quotidian-bourgeois sort of fashion. Young family recently moved to stunning country refurbished grande maison with sanded floorboards and Philippe Starck sanitary ware. Hard-working thoughtless husband fails to understand his wife needs more than lifestyle and ungrateful wife fails to understand material comforts don’t appear without hard work and so starts an affair with a prat.

But then a surreal sequence of increasingly unbelievable events start to cascade into thoughtless husband’s life, and the film began to assume a helter-skelter slide down to you-know-not-where. Which is why I found myself on the edge of my seat.

It’s not often I find myself quite literally physically gripped by a film. There’s a sort of sameness, an inevitability, about most action movies or thrillers, and even if you don’t quite guess the outcome, you can guess pretty close.

In this case, though, the plot surprised at every twist and turn, and the increasingly limited options for the “hero” merely served to increase mystery and puzzlement rather than point to any obvious outcome.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I think the official translated title of The Big Picture is slightly odd, but maybe not as odd as the original French title, come to think of it.

But I do recommend seeing it if you get the chance.

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