Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CQ (2001)

Seen: On our big screen/projector set-up, streamed from my boyfriend's hard drive.

While editing and eventually taking over directing duty of cheesy science-fiction sexploitation film Dragonfly, Paul (Jeremy Davies) seeks artistic fulfillment by making his own introspective art film in his apartment. His obsession with filming everything puts a distance between him and his live-in girlfriend Marlene (Élodie Bouchez), and he finds himself growing more attracted to Dragonfly's star, Valentine (Angela Lindvall). He hangs out with materialistic movie people in Paris and Rome but never really makes any connections.

CQ combines aspects of DIY French New Wave, goofy high-concept 60's sci-fi, and behind-the-scenes movie-making for an eclectic but ultimately uneven and unsure film. It's got a lot of good ideas and a solid cast, but as it flits around from movie-within-a-movie to narrated self-pity, it comes off too disjointed. I was often confused about what was happening, what was a dream or film scene or reality, and while I'm sure that's partially the point, there was so little actual plot to follow that I found I didn't especially care about this effect. This is writer/director Roman Coppola's only solo feature effort to date so I guess I can't be too surprised that it's a bit clunky.

Gosh I sound negative! Moving past the structure/script/pacing issues, CQ is a pretty cool movie! It's got Jeremy Davies, one of the cutest people alive, and he gets to wear nice suits and charm some ladies and nervously navigate the inner workings of the European film industry in the late 60's. The fake movie he's making actually looks pretty rad, and the various glimpses of its futuristic setting and action espionage are silly and interesting, along with a look at how some of the visuals and effects are achieved. The soundtrack is excellent (some might say... "groovy"?) and there are some funny references and neat action sequences. I just wish it had all fit together better.

3.5/5

Pair This Movie With: Because I enjoyed the Dragonfly sequences, this put me in the mood for Barbarella or The Adventures of Stella Star or some such outing. The realistic parts were a little reminiscent of Marcello Mastroianni wandering around Rome trying to figure out what the hell is going on in this crazy time in La Dolce Vita, but I don't think I'd pair the two.

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