All the Fine Promises (2003)

2 06 2008

This is the chronological and stylistic midpoint between Le doux amour des hommes and Á Travers la forêt but also the least defiant of the three Civeyrac films mentioned. While it does have some overwhelmingly fantastic moments (as all of Civeyrac’s films do) it does run the risk of being bland from time to time. With every film, it begins to look more and more like he is interested in the paranormal rather than the normal. There is still plenty of “fucked up relationship” stuff here but like his latest film, it also has a few rather laughable moments.

Following her mother’s death, Marianne discovers that her now presumably deceased father had a mistress. She becomes intrigued and goes out to look for the woman, leaving her lover, Etienne, all alone. Marianne discovers that the mistress is Beatrice, a pianist who lives in a secluded beach house. The two start a friendship, reminiscing about the man who made in an impact in both of their lives.

In all honesty, it is becoming semi-irritating having to cope with the inexplicable “ghost” scenes that Civeyrac seems to occasionally toss into all of his films. His characters’ inability to get over the death of loves one is beginning to wear a little thin. Still, I’d be lying if I said these characters weren’t intriguing as all hell. It’s questionable as to whether or not that is even Civeyrac’s intention. He may very well be going for some Alain Robbe-Grillet sort of story. It’s sort of hard to depicter such a thing underneath his unconventional (and fully realized) aesthetic.

Whether or not the above case is true, Jeanne Balibar is still pretty amazing and of course, this is indeed another case of cinematic perfection on Civeyrac’s part. Even if his interest will always lie in more spiritual matters, I can still appreciate his unrivaled ability to capture pure moments of intimacy. The bedroom scene between Marianne and Etienne is the purest example of what I look for in Civeyrac’s films as well as an explanation as to why I continue to watch his films. His interest obviously lies in other areas, but his talent is unavoidable.

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