An Amazing Couple, On the Run & After Life review

:. Director: Lucas Belvaux
:. Starring: Dominique Blanc, Ornella Muti
:. Running Time: 1:56+2:03+1:55
:. Year: 2003
:. Country: France


It's an adventure, a new cinematic experiment that the filmmaker proposes here. Built as a scavenger hunt for the audience who unceasingly wonders about supporting characters of each of the three films when they are off camera.

What happens with the supporting characters when they leave the screen? Here is a question Lucas Belvaux answers by creating a mini-event. Over 24 hours, three couples move around the city of Grenoble. This is where the force of the Belvaux's trilogy lies: frustrated by not being able to sufficiently develop supporting characters and their destinies in his previous films, here he shines the light (at different levels, like in Balzac's novels) on three couples: Cecile and Alain, Jeanne and Le Roux, Agnes and Pascal. The obvious link (other ties will appear later on) between the three pictures are the women, teachers in the same high school.

A daring endeavor, to which he attaches a remarkable work on genre films: An Amazing Couple is a phantasmagoric comedy bathed in a spring light, On The Run is a tough and contrasted thriller where people are constantly on the run (with great reinforcements of traveling and long shots), enriched by a reflection on the legitimacy of political violence, and After Life is a romantic drama whose essence lies in the purity of the feelings, supported by actors shot in close-ups with a hand-held camera.

The other link between the three films is the sense of anguish (and even paranoia) which inhabits all the characters. The suffering of these three couples (After Life is the closest to the topic) moves in crescendo. The audience can watch these works in any order or see only one or two as each story works independently.

It's interesting to see that the same scene, perhaps funny in one film, isn't in the other. Sometimes Belvaux ventures to shoot a sequence differently in two of the three films. Moreover, the ideas that one can have about a character may vary and sometimes completely change from one picture to another. The character of Pascal (Gilbert Melki) reveals his several facets gradually.

The soundtrack composed by Ricardo del Fra plays a considerable role in this trilogy, reaching its climax in After Life with a multitude of noises (cracking, breaths, etc...) and an extremely bare music from four strings of guitar. In On The Run, the presence of a bass is enough to build tension while in An Amazing Couple, a quartet and an orchestra play the themes of the characters.

Do not hesitate (if you have a some free time, like about six hours...) to embrace this unusual experience, unique enough to be emphasized in French cinema.

  Laurence Nicoli

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