(director/writer: Gaspar Noé; cinematographer: Benoit Debie; editors: Ed Bedow/Gaspar Noé; music: ; cast: Dario Argento (unnamed Father), Françoise Lebrun (unnamed Mother), Alex Lux (Stéphane, adult son), Kylian Dheret (toddler son); Runtime: 145; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Edouard Weil, Vincent Maraval, Brahim Chioua: Srab Films; 2021-France/Belgium/Monaco/Australia-in French & English, with English subtitles)
“The film might be realistic and unique, but also too downbeat to be enjoyable.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Argentinian-born provocateur filmmaker who is based in France, Gaspar Noé (“Enter the Void”/”Irreversible”), tells the mostly improvised story of a long-time married elderly couple, starring Françoise Lebrun (the 77-year-old French actress), and Dario Argento (the noted 80-year-old Italian horror director), who in old age are both suffering from various medical problems and are on their last days as both are suffering from dementia. They live in a cluttered apartment (with books and papers) in Paris. Its gimmick is a split-screen presentation.
Last year Noé suffered from a brain hemorrhage. When released during the pandemic, this was the personal film he came up with. It opens with a title card dedicating the film “To all those whose brains will decompose before their hearts.”
The old lady vents to her older husband that t would be better off if I were dead, and he says nothing.
Each move slowly across the apartment, as seen on the split-screen.
The film might be realistic and unique, but also too downbeat to be enjoyable. It’s as if the grandchildren were able to watch their ailing elderly grandparents whenever on an internet hook-up.
The couple has one son, Stéphane (Alex Lutz), who begs them to move into an assisted-living facility for their own good.
I would never watch it again, but it was accessible, relates to real problems faced by the elderly and is sympathetic to their plight.
REVIEWED ON 1/18/2022 GRADE: B