Le Monde Vivant (The Living World) (2003) Eugène Green

Le Monde Vivant (The Living World) (2003)

Genre: Fantasy | Drama
Director: Eugène Green
Country: France/Belgium
Language: French
Subtitles: English (.srt file)
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.66:1
Length: 71mn
File: Dvdrip Xvid Avi - 640x384 - 25fps - 701mb

Rare is a film like Eugène Green’s Le Monde Vivant (The Living World), one of such humor, wit, whimsy, and spirit told in a mode so strict, formal, and minimal. It is a fable, or a fairy tale, or a certain way of looking at reality if you like, but it is impossible not to suggest a child-friendly and cheerful homage to Robert Bresson’s Lancelot du Lac. The Bresson comparison is inevitable, what with Green’s frank simplicity in framing, his deliberating speaking and minimally performing actors (resembling Bresson’s “models”), and most importantly his respect not just for each individual shot, movement, and line of dialog, but in the accumulation of these things. There is, for example, in Le Monde Vivant one of the most magical sequences I have seen in a film, where with single, unmoving shots a knight finds a damsel being held captive in a chapel and he leaps up to her tower window to save her. This is told by: a shot of a hand and arm reaching outside a window (at first a horrible image, like something from Dreyer’s Vampyr), a shot of feet going tiptoe and leaving the ground slowly, a shot of the two hands holding lightly, as if shaking, and then releasing, a shot of the knight halfway inside the window, and finally a shot of the feet landing on the wooden chapel floor. Taiwanese martial-arts master King Hu meets Bresson in a fairy tale?

A most delightful low-tech cinematic experiment that was probably made for 1.99 Euro. The language of the film, the theatrical dialog delivery, and the baroque music score hark back to the Age of Chivalry, but the characters wear jeans and refer to modern-day inventions in their conversation (to very funny effect, I must add). Damsels in distress, dashing knights, an evil child-devouring ogre and his kindly wife, two children in danger of becoming the ogre's dinner--the film had them all, with nary a trace of special effects. It relied on good old-fashioned story telling, wit, imagination, and the suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer. A must-see.

It's wonderful how Eugene Green is able to give back a medieval atmosphere with no financial means. He uses the "Nouvelle Vague"'s technique of using the word in counterpoint of the image to give such an impression. The universe is completelt realistic and there is quasi no costume, no special effect, but, amazingly, the story tells of two knights who went fought an oger that kidnapped two children in the woods and keeps a young lady emprisonned.


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