1999 Madeleine Movie Review

Snip-snip, Short Cuts. Magnolia, make room. The Decalogue, find a different audience. You guys have company. This company: a 10-year, 10-film series following 10 intersecting French men and women. The first part of the first act in this sequence, 1999 Madeleine, is a film that I am sure I will praise when I have seen the entire, 10-film sequence. It is also a film that, at this point in time, is so incomplete, such an incompetent piece of storytelling, that part of the audience uttered a few laughs when the words "To Be Continued" appeared at the end.

Such is the fate of fifteen-hour films.

1999 Madeline has no real story... only illustrations. It introduces Madeleine. Note: this is not the child Madeline. This is a fully adult, full-tilt lonely Madeleine. This is a seamstress so frustrated with her incapability to get any that suicide and personal ads seem equally good exits to her Inferno. Madeleine searches Paris, and searches some more, and searches some more, and, at the end of it all, only three plot developments have taken place: her mother is lost, her crucifix is lost, and (hooray for Madeleine) she has gotten laid... only to be left when the man realizes the betrayal he has done his wife.

In other words, 1999 Madeleine is absolutely wrist-slitting depressing. It has all of the narrative quality of an American soap opera (not a French soap opera, which are often quite good, but an American soap opera, which has only produced Sarah Michelle Gellar). The only thing that makes the film bearable is the beautiful, lyric photography in the film, care of Director Laurent Bouhnik. The lyricism in the shots is reminiscent of Egoyan's Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter. The blue matte of the film serves as a reminder of Madeline's constant depression, and, by extension, the constant depression of the film itself.

When all is said and done, however, even the photography doesn't make this film worth watching. The great photography has managed to sucker me into watching all 10 of the films, in advance, and if each one of them is as bad as 1999 Madeleine, I am going to be really, really pissed off come 2009.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Starring : Véra Briole, , , Jean-Michel Fête, Jean-François Gallotte, Aurélia Petit


Comments

1999 Madeleine Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 1999

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