a joyful and moving return in time


Who has never been charmed by time travel? Noémie Lvovsky makes, med Camille repeats, a tight tribute to Coppola’s beautiful film Peggy Sue got married (1986, story of a woman who relives her youth without being rejuvenated).

Either Camille (Noémie Lvovsky), a mother in her forties in the last degree of desolation. A household exploding in full flight, a moderately comforting job, a shaky mental stability. We can’t see what could possibly save his day right now.

Now see how things are done, it happens to be New Year’s Eve. And that an old friend invites Camille to a costume party where all the high school alumni gather. She goes straight there. After a short detour to the goldsmith, just to get your watch back on time and saw off your wedding ring. The man runs. He looks like Jean-Pierre Léaud, who looks more and more like Antonin Artaud, the most wild and shamanistic of French poets.

At the stroke of midnight, throwing her wedding ring out the window, Camille passes out and wakes up one morning in 1985. This space-time shock, worthy of a fairy tale, reveals her in a hospital bed after a night of drinking. Although Camille historically, physically and mentally remains the forty we know, she has simultaneously become the teenage punkette.

Familiar strangeness

This effect of distancing, which sees an adult character play the teenager he was, does not serve to feed the humor of the situation, although the film is not devoid of it. Rather, it is a pretext for a kind of familiar strangeness, a daydream, the source of a meditation full of melancholy. Its main motive can be summarized as follows: Assuming we had the ability to return to the past, could we change our future?

Will Camille avoid being seduced by her future husband Eric (Samir Guesmi), who she knows will make her unhappy? Will she prevent her mother, on the day and time she knows only too well, from dropping dead in her kitchen? Will she be able to repair the damage she has done, the indifference, the pain she has felt?

All the beauty of this film, which is the opposite of an uchronia, consists in answering these questions in the negative, while at the same time suggesting that some of this sequence is still happening before our eyes. The endlessly moving scene in which Camille tells her mother that she loves her, moments before the dreaded moment of her death, demands to be considered a fundamental image of the film’s sanity and existence itself.

Noémie Lvovsky resonates in French auteur cinema with some music that belongs only to her. A joyous harmony whose quacks would be the key.

Camille repeatsFrench film by Noémie Lvovsky, with Noémie Lvovsky, Samir Guesmi, Michel Vuillermoz, Yolande Moreau (Fr., 2012, 120 min.).

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