La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2 (2013)

la vie dadele

chosen by: Pablo

viewed at: Crismattis


Rui, Fer, Edu, Julia, Cris, Matthi, Pablo


La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2 (2013)

One thought on “La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2 (2013)

  1. ruiresende says:

    This will probably be remembered as an extreme example of ‘realistic’ cinema (as opposed to stylized). The difference being that the former shows what “it is” and the later an abstraction of what it is. This is of course a fallacy, because cinema (and any form of storytelling) is an abstraction of reality. So there isn’t for me realistic cinema, only different forms of presentation, different cinematic stances. Different abstractions. The abstraction here is to present a story to which you can or will relate (whether or not it mirrors bits of your own life) and which is extended as much as possible, in time and context, to make you a part of the fabric, to put you in the thing.

    So they take a story and make it as relatable as possible. Simple urges , a girl finding sexuality, social and personal relations at stake, prejudice and society are the antagonists. The first chapter is a recognizable coming of age drama. The second a normal drama. All the dynamics at work, social or private, have already been explored an infinite number of times in a number of films. I think the reason why they chose to make it that simple is to make audiences smoothly get into a familiar world and let the cinematic device kick in. And that’s where the writers throw their aces. Hitchcock had a famous saying about how drama is life with the dull bits cut out. Here they invert the equation. You get to see it all. The argument and the whole crying after. The sex, with preliminaries and orgasm but also changing postures, caressing, the touching, the building up, the afterwards. Every sensation, every feeling, every change of mood is exhaustively shown, sometimes painfully, with every detail. Where many writers, upon re-reading the script, would cut and think about pace, rhythm and engagement; these guys let it be, extend it, let you soak in it. The drama IS the dull bits. The usual high points of a normal drama are here the mere validation of the interstices that you usually don’t see. Nothing stays off-screen, nothing is suggested, everything that Adèle lives is shown.

    The only normal cinematic trick, which is remarkably well pulled, is right at the end: Adele goes and sees the exhibition of her former lover and sees the paintings of her new lover while pregnant, and with it learns that Emma was already detached while they both were together, that she was already moving away. Finding Adele’s affair was for Emma not so much painful, as it was an excuse, a way out. Adele is at the end a broken soul. She never did write her own story, she only had the illusion of that. There is a self- referential hint to that: she declines writing, she admits she is unable to create story lines. She only wrote a diary, things gone by, not the fiction of her future.

    This works and has a certain power. I don’t live my life in films eager to get things like this, i map my dreams to other kinds of abstraction, but this sure is worth exploring. The actress is strong, and the director understands that she’s all about face, or he cast someone to fit his will to shoot in close-up. The relation between the camera and Adele’s face is perfect for the first chapter. The stuff Bergman/Nykvist used to do. But i expected that in such a tight construction, so anchored on the character, the visual depiction of Adele would follow her evolution as a person. I would expect a different camera stance for the grown up Adele. Different hair style and different clothing doesn’t quite do it.

    What also takes me completely out of the cinematic trance so competently built, is the new wave influenced crippled intellectualism to which so many directors seem to succumb… That preachy Sartre bits about how existence precedes essence. Kind of a touristic guide to the film, the text explaining the painting on an exhibition. Lame, pedantic and unworthy of the subtle construction that oversees the life of Adèle. Godard should be blamed for this.

    This is the second film that i see in a week, which uses Oysters as tokens for sex. Food, film and sex can be a powerful mixture. The other film is Tampopo, which adds blood to the equation and its oyster is profoundly more erotic than any sex on this film.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s