Thursday, 26 June 2014

Carré blanc - Reviews by Greg Klymkiw - Recent SciFi that makes Under the Skin pale in comparison

Under The Skin, a film by Jonathan Glazer, is awful. I respect Glazer for trying to make a contemporary Science Fiction picture that isn't just a dumb action movie disguised as Science Fiction, but alas, it truly does fall flat on its face.

There is, however, a great film that made my 10 Best Films of 2011 list that hits all the right buttons that Glazer misses by several country miles. Harkening back to the great 70s science-fiction film classics, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti’s debut feature Carré blanc is easily one of the finest dystopian visions of the future to be etched upon celluloid since that dazzling decade.

The tale is, on its surface and as in many great movies, a simple one. Philippe and Marie grew up together in a state orphanage and are now married. They live in a stark, often silent corporate world bereft of any vibrant colour and emotion.

Philippe is a most valued lackey of the state – he is an interrogator-cum-indoctrinator. Marie is withdrawing deeper and deeper into a cocoon as the love she once felt for Philippe is transforming into indifference. In this world, though, hatred is as much a luxury as love.

Tangible feelings and simple foibles are punished with torture and death. Indifference, it would seem, is the goal. It ensures complete subservience to the dominant forces. Love, however, is ultimately the force the New World Order is helpless to fight and it is at the core of this story. If Philippe and Marie can somehow rediscover that bond, there might yet be hope – for them, and the world. It is this aspect of the story that always keeps the movie floating above a mere exercise in style and makes it an instant classic of science fiction. First screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

Love in Dystopia: Contemporary SciFi in a 70s tradition.
Carré blanc is a great film. I've written 2 pieces on it for the ultra-cool UK film magazine Electric Sheep - a deviant view of Cinema. The first is a review that can be accessed HERE and the second is a critical essay on the astounding score and soundscape. Here's a brief excerpt from the article which can be accessed in its entirety by click HERE:

When Score and Sound Design Become Indistinguishable: The Universality of Evgueni Galperine’s Music for Carré blanc

excerpt from Greg Klymkiw's
Electric Sheep article:

The goal of the Brave New World that Léonetti presents appears to be little more than indifference, and as such it’s especially important to make note of the astounding score by Evgueni Galperine [which is unlike] the horrendously bombastic ‘action’ scores so prevalent in contemporary science fiction films, with Michael Giacchino’s pounding notes in the J. J. Abrams reboots of Star Trek, or the wham-bam-in-your-face styling of Ryan Amon’s Elysium score and, lest we forget, any of John Williams’s sweeping orchestral noodlings in George Lucas’s Star Wars space operas.

If anything, Galperine successfully roots his music in a spare blend of electronic soundscape, eerie source music and very light orchestral background. In fact, it’s sometimes impossible to distinguish between score and sound design – something that was so integral to dystopian science fiction films of the 1970s, most notably, the creepy crawly work of Denny Zeitlin in Philip Kaufman’s immortal remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Read the full article HERE and the review HERE.