Saturday, September 29, 2018

French Cinema Now: When Margaux Meets Margaux

Went to SIFF yesterday to see When Margaux Meets Margaux, which is playing as part of SIFF's French Cinema Now festival.  It was bad.  A 45-year old woman named Margaux (Sandrine Kiberlain) comes across a 20-year old woman also named Margaux (Agathe Bonitzer) at a party in Paris.  Ah, the viewer thinks, this is a pleasant little comedy about mistaken identities.  Alas, no.  Margaux the Elder is actually Margaux the Younger from a later period in her life.  Apparently some sort of time travel has occurred.  But how?  We’re not told.  However, there is also the possibility that Margaux the Elder is some sort of metal projection of Margaux the Younger when she contemplates what her future life might be.  So who's the real Margaux?  It's not clear.  And that’s the problem I had with this film: its main conceit is too baffling.  We’re never quite sure what we’re witnessing.  The ground beneath our feet is never secure.  Writer and director Sophie Fillières is attempting to create a romantic comedy but keeps throwing us so many metaphysical curveballs that one barely has time to care about the fate of Margaux (either one) or her (their?) love life.  I was busy looking for clues to determine what was the reality of the film - and (spoiler) I was left empty handed.  An entirely unsatisfying experience.  In fact, leaving this film my greatest regret was that an older version of myself hadn’t traveled back from the future to warn me not to waste my afternoon watching this disappointing movie.

Sandrine Kimberlain and Agathe Bonitzer

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