Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars Courageous and realistic - but is that enough?, 5 Oct 2012
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This review is from: La Gueule Ouverte [1974] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] (DVD)
This is an indisputably courageous film by an exceptional and courageous auteur. It is the story of a death - in all its dehumanisation, objectification,and ugliness - but it tells us nothing about death. There are no metaphysical reflections, no redemptive considerations, just the sheer banality of death, just death 'as it is', without comment. The death itself is the background: the foreground story is of the ex-husband and the son of the dying woman, who continue their lives of infidelity, promiscuity - and, yes, utter banality. There are no sympathetic characters here, no warmth of human feeling, and certainly no sentimentality. As other reviewers have commented, this makes it hard to watch, 'washed-out' colours and lightening, relentlessly non-communicative and full of very long sequences (nearly 5 minutes in one scene) where not a single word is uttered or single action undertaken, just the two men walking around the bed watching. It does give you 'truth', perhaps but is that alone enough in a work of art (as opposed to, say,a documentary)? Chekhov, for example, also gives us 'truth' and reflects the utter banality of life ('tragedy' would be too grand a word for it) but with Chekhov we see ourselves in the characters, we have some empathy with their flaws and their empty dreams, and that forces us to be moved and to reflect back on ourselves. Not so here. For me, entirely admirable and courageous, unique in its concept and execution, expertly made - but just too raw, too remote, to connect.
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3.2 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)
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