Claude Lelouch , the patron saint of French romance (Un Homme et un Femme, And Now Ladies and Gentlemen) does a master turn at the thriller in this gentle crafted sunbeam of frissions.
A serial killer picks up a Parisienne party girl abandoned after an argument by her boyfriend. Ok, scratch that…The ghost of a French novelist picks up a prostitute in pumps at the gas station. Ok that’s not quite right…A city gal asks the old guy she lets pick her up when she’s angry to go home with her, to impersonate her fiancé in her Cezanne-esque log cabin home (god fearing relatives and all) . ok scratch that…It’s all a goshdarn cover for a chick that sells her body when she’s not cutting hair, to keep her pious rural family in the dark.
Bitch ,But mostly meant affectionately
Lies are not the center of the story. Lies ARE the story. Lelouch ‘s commentary seems to take aim at the postmodern white lie to preserve the suzerienity of love over everything else in the world, thus bringing the nouvell vague values of the existential primacy of the individual experience over objective truth and lies- These are ideas enunciated by such worthies as(Godard’s) Bout de Souffle and (Truffaut’s) Shoot the piano player,as early as the 1960’s,now brought into the 21st century world of paranoid suburbia.
The story isn’t merely the ghost struggling to get out from under the writer. It isn’t merely a murder mystery turned into a scandal. It isn’t merely an indictment of paranoia where the Audience is the bigger criminal (and they are never made to feel dirty or finger-pointed-at. ). It is the contextualization of the white lie in romantic history.
Chase ME Fanny!
Lelouch ,( the liar) tells his angry lover(, the Audience) that it’s ok. Its more important to be in love. The real deceit is when you are out of love. The real betrayal is when the subject stops loving you..
The Book, written by the ghost of a famous novelist, Judith Ralitzer( a star turn by Fanny Ardent) is called God and the Other is about the real life of the people in the movie. It’s not about God (peace be unto him).it’s not about the Other(and peace unto Deridda). It’s about how we get caught in the deceitful web we weave. Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo…everyone used Ghosts. And everyone…Earnest Hemingway , Victor Hugo…committed suicide….We are told solemnly.
Lies are like chocolate. Delicious, bad for you and unavoidable. Everyone is a compulsive liar…maybe everyone in the world. I’m a…let’s see..ghost of a famous novelist, but I just heard a line on the radio and I may just be an escaped serial killer…and you are…you say? The famous hairdresser that did Lady Di’s hair jst before she died? Liar! I KNOW lady Di wasn’t in Paris the day before she died….want a walk in the dark and lonely woods where I may or not do you in ? What’s that you say? You have a family living in bucolic isolation in the village? You have a preteen daughter?…I must postpone killing you …until….I…meet ..them…..(wat? I’m only a novelist gathering material for the next classic “God and the Other”…).
This is the story for the ICQ generation. Every one of us is simultaneously in everyone else’s bedrooms in a way that the only space afforded to one another comes from our loving whit lies. Lies told not knowing that if people knew the truth, they’d all become serial killers for the proximity and the simultaneous distance. We are an angry world, but we like to lie that we’re loving and nice. Maybe the lies are more real than your anger, but we’d never know this unless we weave the tissue of lies.
Roman de gare is thus an experiment in making a loving serial killer film and if it weren’t in French I might never have taken it’s philosophical underpinnings seriously. …it’s possible that all that philosophy is lies too….