Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 07 December 2012 01:00

‘The Big Picture’ asks big questions

‘The Big Picture’ asks big questions thebigpicturemovie.com/
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

Director/co-writer Eric Lartigau’s film “The Big Picture” poses a knotted series of problems regarding identity, anonymity and fame. More a theoretical interrogation than a richly delivered story, the plot begins with self-satisfied Parisian lawyer Paul Exben slow to realize his wife Sarah has enjoyed an affair with long-time friend Grégoire and now wants a divorce.

After a shocked, devastated Paul confronts Greg, the world changes in unexpected, unalterable ways. As with many French films, complex, intimate, emotional relationships take center stage in the first act. Carefully observed, familiar events reveal layered elements of desire and need, offering insights and food for thought.

Unfortunately, the second act veers away from the richly nuanced interaction as a crime drama takes center stage. This shift noticeably changes the focus of the film from fairly conventional exchanges to a slower pace and a literal and figurative darkness. For example, early on Paul has meals with his two children, talks with his law partner, and longs to pursue his love of photography. Later, he spends a great deal more time alone, chats only guardedly with others, and wields his camera like an expert, almost as a weapon.

As Paul, the charismatic Romain Duris anchors the episodic second and third acts, no small accomplishment with the burden squarely on him. In brief but nicely drawn scenes, Niels Arestrup and Catherine Deneuve shine like the veteran professionals they are. But the shift in acts two and three require some nimble, mental gymnastics by viewers, especially those of us accustomed to externalized, formulaic fare, which “The Big Picture” is not.

Without revealing important plot details, I can safely say that the film extends an invitation to contemplation of ideas atypical for conventional cinema. Because of that, and the rather cursory treatment of its weighty themes, its achievement remains a bit elusive, though worth further reflection.

Based on Douglas Kennedy’s novel, “The Big Picture” is a mistranslation of the French title, “L’Homme qui voulait vivre sa vie,” “The Man who Wanted to Live His Life.” While not entirely successful, it’s rare to have a film with so much on its mind, a treat in itself. In French with English subtitles. At a Landmark Theatre.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

May
Thursday
28

KDHX Discovery Series: Soul-Jazz and its Resurgence with Andy Coco

This multimedia session led by KDHX DJ Andy Coco of The Rhythm Section, explores the invention of the soul-jazz genre, its influence, and its contemporary resurgence. With live music from The Provels.   The Discovery...


May
Saturday
30

Brunch at the Stage: The Ozark Highballers

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


May
Saturday
30

Official Pride St. Louis Kick Off Party

Please be our guest for this event at the only Official Pride St Louis Kick Off Party. Enjoy a complimentary bar featuring Pinnacle Vodka, Cruzan Rum, Sauza Tequlia, Jagermeister and Jagermeister Spice, Red Bull, select beers from...


Online Users

0 users and 12581 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook