- Four extended scenes
- DVD-ROM press kit
A Tout de Suite
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Lili is an impulsive, free-spirited art student living a staid existence with her father in 1970s Paris. When she meets a mysterious young Moroccan man at a nightclub, she falls instantly in love. She soon learns he was involved in a botched bank robbery - where a man was killed - and without hesitation allows him and his accomplice to hide out in her apartment. The next morning, joined by the accomplice's girl, they flee Paris for a dizzying cross-continent escape through Spain, Morocco and Greece. But as the police draw closer, and tensions within the group rise, her adventure takes a sudden and unexpected turn in this dazzling, multi-layered critical favorite from acclaimed director Benoit Jacquot (Sade, The School of Flesh).
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Top customer reviews
Low budget movie. Except for stock shots, it's all interiors, small cast, and shot in mono. The movie, however, generates a good deal of suspense, and Le Besco delivers some great moments. The actor who plays her lover is well matched to her--he plays in a similar style--and his face is also interesting and multifaceted.
See this, and you will want to see another Le Besco film. Fortunately, there are some twenty of them. I wish I had known about her long ago. Oh well, I had Sophie Marceau to keep me happy until Isild came along.
The film is a bit unsettling at first, shot in 2004 in black and white; it is supposed to have a 1970's feel to it - or set in the 1970's. I knew the DVD release was brand new, so I had to check release and filming dates - sure enough its a current film. But the director got some things a bit wrong with the era; nothing I can put my finger on specifically, but the film just wasn't perfectly 1970's. I lived in Paris at that time, and it never really felt like this film. He intercut stock footage from the period, which was all slightly out of focus and badly shot; so it stuck out like a sore thumb compared to the more modern filming.
Then we move to the acting. Its all kind of cardboard, long vapid staring off into space. The lead character Lili, Isild Le Besco, spent about half her screen time staring, very much like the cover art on the DVD. She spent much of the rest drawing. And all the rest without her clothes on, or in bed. The supporting cast was pretty much just there, not a ton of dialog, not much action; they all sort of orbited around Lili, while she was sad, serious, and bored.
Film wise, it is interesting to see black and white filming. But the director chose some of the worlds worst film stock to shoot on. The whole thing was grainy beyond imagination. Black and white can be sumptuous with fineness of tone, details. Instead he created a high contrast grainy mess. The editing was very sad, so many scenes should have been cut, but we remain looking at something we should have long ago stopped seeing. At an hour and 40 minutes, the film is long. At the one hour mark the film turns into almost paint drying. The last 10 minutes are decent, and do put a bow on the story.
The film is shown in French with English subtitles. It is not rated, but would likely be R rated if the MPAA watched this one. There is a small amount of strong language. There is a certain amount of nudity. Isild Le Besco is not afraid to take off her clothes, and we are treated to views of her entire pretty body (they did get one thing exactly right about the 70's, a certain lack of shaving). There is one brief scene of full frontal male nudity. From the descriptions, it might seem like this is a sensual romp with Lili. In fact its kind of the opposite. Aside from her first coupling with the Morrocan guy, the sex scenes are not at all sensual. There are no explicit sex scenes at all in this film (there's a strange scene with two men where Lili twists and turns between the two of them, but nothing other than her body is visible - hardly an explicit scene). So younger viewers need not apply to watch this film.
The DVD bonus features are the worst. There are several 'extended' scenes. I watched them, and honestly cannot tell what is extended. They are at best super lame. Don't even bother.
My complaint with this film, it is too long and moves very slowly, there is no real romance or chemistry between the coupling characters, it was a poor attempt at capturing the film style of the 70's, the filming was down right bad (black and white has so much potential), and the story was just not interesting. I love French film, I love black and white films, I love slow moving delicate films; this one just didn't engage me at all.
The film is primarily about Lili's experiences. When she becomes separated from the two men in Greece, she is without contacts or money. She is helped by several people who, predictably, want something in return. She must make her way in these difficult circumstances, taking what she needs while avoiding becoming an object of exploitation. True to the rest of the film, the end does not come with Lili revealing what lessons she has learned. We have to take what we have seen and process it through our own senses and minds without the benefit of heavy-handed proselytizing. A Tout de Suite is proof that speed, violence and special effects are not essential for creating significant and memorable movies. Along with the striking black and white scenes of the various locations, the absence of a soundtrack further compels us to pay close attention to the characters and their surroundings.
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