Friday, December 9, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #63: "Je t'aime, Je t'aime" (1968)

Movie Stats:
Released 1968 (France)
French, in French (There was also a small amount of what sounded like German or Dutch to me. I watched with English subtitles.)
Director - Alain Resnais
Stars - Claude Rich, Olga Georges-Picot

Plot Summary:
A suicidal man, Claude Ridder (Rich), is tapped by a research institute to be the first human participant of a time travel experiment. Georges-Picot co-stars as Catrine, Ridder’s girlfriend (Maybe wife? The movie never makes that point clear).

Very minor gore; implied sexy times.

Bad Stuff:
While it’s more sci fi-related than some of the other movies on this list, it’s still a bit light in that regard.

It’s sort of pointless.

Good Stuff:
I was transfixed. It was so hard to look away because I perpetually wanted to see what would happen next. When it ended, I wanted more.

I thought it was an accurate, sensitive portrayal of how emotionally taxing it is to be a caregiver for someone who’s mentally ill. It was also a pretty accurate portrayal of depression. My favorite exchange of the film was when, after picking Ridder up from the hospital post-suicide attempt, one of the researchers asked him (paraphrased), “How does it feel to be alive?” and he responded, “It doesn’t.” Too real, movie. Too real.

This is one of the few movies I’ve seen that does time travel in a way that feels right.

The Verdict:
Much to my surprise, I really liked this. It had all the hallmarks of a film that I would hate: 1960s, French surrealism, a time travel theme. All things that typically frustrate me and make me roll my eyes. But it was really well done. I liked both the concept and the execution. For example, it jumps around a lot in terms of time line, but it does a good job of easing you into that slowly. I never wondered what was going on. It was a fine bit of filmmaking. I also liked how the movie basically got right to the point, rather than dithering around for half an hour before telling you what it’s all about. That was refreshing. I would definitely watch this again. I feel like I could watch it repeatedly and get something different out of it each time.

I give it 4 stars.


Patricia said...

Sounds great! The library doesn't have it (boo!) but it seems to be available on YouTube.

balyien said...

Oh, YouTube! That's one place I haven't been looking when I've had a hard time finding movies. Thanks for reminding me!