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Une place parmi les vivants

Posted by martinteller on September 25, 2012

Ernest Ripper (Christian Vadim) is a struggling author in 1950’s Paris.  No one takes him very seriously, his editor openly dismisses his work.  But he has a secret, special project.  He’s been approached by Joseph Arcimboldo (Thierry Gibault).  Joseph claims to be the serial killer who has been preying on young ladies, and he commissions Ripper to write a roman à clef about his murderous exploits.

Ruiz’s take on noir has a few intriguing elements.  The relationship between fiction and reality is being explored, as people appear to be putting on all sorts of different façades and living double lives.  Is Joseph even the killer he claims to be?  In the end, whose book is it anyway?  But I dunno… I found the movie slipping away from me, getting lost in its idiosyncrasies.  The convoluted plot, Ripper’s collection of lenses, the abundance of baguettes, the 360-degree camera spins.  Although sporadically entertaining and humorous, it ultimately felt too much like self-consciously quirky genre exercise.  Even the sultry jazz score got to be tiresome after a while.

Some fun twists and excellent cinematography, but it doesn’t add up to much.  Nonetheless, looking forward to checking out more Ruiz.  With such a huge filmography — and a relatively small reputation — it’s hard to guess which ones will be more rewarding.  Rating: Fair (67)

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