Ce qu’Il Restera de Nous

February 7, 2010By Nick HammondArchive

The Longest
40-Minute Film Ever


The lipstick smear: how to tell a woman is losing it in a French film.

Always on the lookout for films that do not quite fit the mold, I recently saw the 40-minute Ce qu’Il Restera de Nous (What Will Remain of Us), directed by Vincent Macaigne. Too long to be a short and too short to be a feature film, it had garnered very respectable ratings from critics and spectators alike, so I was hopeful.

After a bar scene, the movie begins by following a long-haired drunk, Thibault (played by Thibault Lacroix), as he staggers along a riverbank and ends up sitting on the hulk of a half-submerged car, shouting an invective-laden monologue that displays both wide reading and an unhinged mind. Our expectations are later upturned when we see him enter a well-appointed suburban home and strip naked in front of a couple in the garden before going upstairs to take a shower.

It then emerges that this tramp, who for several years has had no contact with his recently deceased father, has inherited all his father’s wealth. His dutiful brother, Anthony (Anthony Palliotti) has received nothing. Reacting to the taunts of Thibault, Anthony loses his cool and attacks him, unleashing another invective-laden diatribe, which matches his brothers’ outburst for colorful language.

Anthony then leaves the family home in a car with his wife Laure (Laure Calamy), who in turn suddenly loses her composure and staggers out of the car, daubing her entire face with lipstick before hurling an (you guessed it) invective-laden speech at her husband. The other two invective-laden rants had lasted about seven minutes, but this one felt like 20 minutes, with no variation of tone. It became very difficult not to laugh at the awfulness of it all and the lack of variety in the delivery.

The whole film, which seemed to have lasted two hours rather than 40 minutes, was shot through what looked like gauze. It would have been a much more pleasurable experience had it been filmed through a thick blanket with the sound turned off. At least I learned a new range of insults. My favorite was “espèce de larve”(“you piece of larva”).

Nick Hammond

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