Deux Rémi, deux, a delicately subversive comedy
by Muriel Del Don
- LOCARNO 2015: The film by Pierre Léon, which was screened in the Signs of Life section of the 68th Locarno Film Festival, stuns with its free and bold style
Franco-Swiss co-production Deux Rémi, deux [+see also:
film profile] by French director Pierre Léon (who was actually born in Moscow), presented at the Locarno Film Festival, gracefully worms its way into the viewer’s mind with delicate violence, like a neat Pastis laced with cyanide. What is so captivating and seductive about Léon’s latest film is its free style, featuring surreal scenarios and characters with something seductively retro about them.
Rémi (played flawlessly by Pascal Cervo) is thirty years old and has a decent job working for the father of the girl he secretly loves. Although he leads a peaceful, sometimes monotonous life, something’s not right and he feels lost and often confused. One day everything suddenly changes and he finds himself having to share his everyday existence with his doppelganger, another Rémi, who is somewhat intrusive and rather arrogant. Which is the real Rémi? Which will manage to assert himself despite the absurdity of the situation?
Deux Rémi, deux is a fantasy comedy, the film adaptation of The Double by Dostoevskij. Using a surreal and deliciously violent atmosphere and ambiguous scenarios in which nothing is as it seems, Pierre Léon portrays the fears and contradictions of a borderline society. His latest film plays with reality, leading the viewer to question his own perception of the absurd. Despite the irrational nature of the situation, those surrounding the protagonist react in a completely casual way to the arrival of his ‘double’. Nothing seems to faze them and in fact, they’re please to discover a more open self-assured Rémi. Inadvertently (but perhaps not really), they send the protagonist the message that they prefer his ‘double’, a sort of alter ego who is more socially open and obliging.
Pierre Léon moves away from the everyday with delicate violence, from what we commonly refer to as ‘reality’, offering an alternative version of the world that surrounds us. What really lurks under the surface? Is the world we live in really as straightforward and uniform as it appears? Despite the apparent artificialness of the situations it portrays, Deux Rémi, deux is an incredibly compassionate film, delicately emotional and always impeccably elegant. The end result is imbued with a confirmed taste for intrigue and eccentric characters with an offbeat sense of humour. Léon does not bend over backwards trying to portray a vision of modernity that he’s perhaps not even interested in. What really fascinate him are the secret relationships that unite the characters, the mysterious things that remain unspoken that create chaos. The dialogue, light yet cutting in its absurdity, gives the characters a delightfully French “je ne sais quoi”. A free and precious film.
(Translated from Italian)