LGM Film Club, Part 271: FranceComments
Bruno Dumont’s film that reached America last year is bad. Very bad. It’s called France and it’s very subtle. See, the lead character’s name is France (played by the usually good Lea Seydoux) and she is THE major TV French reporter but she’s incredibly rich, shallow, and self-centered and in fact it is a meditation on what it means to be French. Can you see the connections? Need I add a brick to your head to get this incredible subtlety.
The film itself is basically bullshit. It actually leads off with Macron doing a press conference so that our less than heroine France de Meurs can crack sex jokes and grill the prime minister for a good hot take and I’m like, shouldn’t Macron be governing or something?
Then France bumps an Arab scooter rider and he gets mildly hurt and this for some reason destroys her and she starts crying on the air, but she comes back and films segments on African migrants fleeing to France that are done to make her look great and isn’t France and the nation of France and especially the French media so shallow? Where’s that brick again, I feel the film isn’t making it’s point obvious enough? It would be almost impossible to make a high end French film with its A++ level actors more pointless and shallow. Except that you get to see Seydoux cry like 38 times in the film. If that’s acting, then you have won this film. The genuine personal tragedy that frames the last 1/4 of the film doesn’t even register because you don’t care anymore. This isn’t on the character of France necessarily and it is definitely not on Seydoux, who does as much with this role as is possible. It’s on Dumont’s complete lack of either empathy for his characters or interest in developing any kind of useful critique. In short, this is a film about the emptiness of neoliberal France by someone who clearly is fully imbibed with French neoliberalism as a way of life and so can’t see clearly enough to make a useful film.