Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Screen Illusion

Yesterday I saw Mathieu Amalric's The Screen Illusion, which played as part of the San Francisco Film Society's New Cinema Now. It's a TV movie adaptation of Pierre Corneille's L’Illusion comique, made under the constraint that it use actors from La Comédie Française, speaking the original text but in a contemporary setting. M. Amalric nimbly transposes the action to a set of business suites in a posh Paris hotel, where Isabelle, the daughter of a wealthy business mogul, is pursued by 3 suitors. Clindor's father witnesses his son's shenanigans on the hotel's surveillance videos. When Matamore brags of killing people in battle, he's playing a video game. The actors speak so crisply that I could hear the rhyming couplets even though I don't understand French. There are plenty of meaningful silences as well, so the movie does not feel talky. The last scene might be a bit confusing, & it adds its own twist on top of Corneille's original surprise ending. The movie has almost no music, & the audience sat non-plussed in silence as the closing credits rolled.

§ The Screen Illusion (L’Illusion Comique)
Mathieu Amalric
France 2010, 77 min

French Cinema Now
Wednesday, November 2, 5:00 pm
SF Film Society | New People Cinema

§ Photo credit: Courtesy of San Francisco Film Society

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